US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that the United States and China have an obligation to manage their relationship responsibly and that he told Chinese leaders in meetings in Beijing that direct engagement was the best way to ensure that disagreements do not turn into conflict.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Blinken said he had candid and substantive discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping and senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on Monday.
“I expect additional visits from senior US officials to China in the coming weeks,” Blinken told a press conference in Beijing. He added that Washington welcomes further visits by Chinese officials to the United States.
For his part, Xi said he was happy with the talks.
Blinken said he raised US concerns about provocative Chinese actions in the Taiwan Strait. Blinken said he reiterated that the United States does not support Taiwan independence and continues to wait for a peaceful resolution of disputes across the strait.
For decades, the United States has made it clear that its decision to establish diplomatic relations with Chinacin in 1979 was based on the expectation that “Taiwan’s future will be determined by peaceful means”, as stipulated by law. on relations with Taiwan.
Blinken told reporters he also raised human rights issues, including international concerns about the treatment of people in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, as well as the wrongful detention of US citizens in China. .
Blinken also said the United States is ready to cooperate with China on issues of mutual concern. He said these include climate change, macroeconomic stability, public health, food security and counter-narcotics.
The United States and China have also agreed to establish “a task force” of joint efforts to combat the illicit flow of fentanyl, according to Blinken.
Blinken, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday, is the most senior US official to visit China since 2018. His trip was postponed until February after a Chinese surveillance balloon flew over US airspace.
Americans wrongfully detained in China
Children of Americans whom the United States considers wrongfully detained by Chinese authorities had asked Blinken to raise the case of their fathers with his Chinese counterparts.
“Behind every hostage is a family that suffers every day,” the Bring Our Families Home Campaign said in a tweet on Sunday.
“This Sunday will be the 7th time I’ve missed Father’s Day with my dad,” Harrison Li said. “Freeing my dad is one of the easiest things the Chinese government can do to show they mean business. about the normalization of relations.”
Harrison Li’s father, Kai Li, has been a US citizen detained in China since September 2016. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage, a charge his family denies.
Alice Lin is the daughter of American pastor David Lin, who was detained in murky circumstances in 2006 and later sentenced to life in prison for contract fraud. Lin’s family firmly maintains her innocence. Lin’s sentence was later reduced and he is expected to be released in 2029.
“Secretary Blinken, we miss my dad. Please do everything you can to bring him home,” Lin told VOA.
Washington said China’s military escalation in the Taiwan Strait was “a global concern”.
A senior State Department official told VOA that it is in the interests of the United States to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. China is seen as stepping up economic coercion targeting Taiwan ahead of its presidential election.
In May, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told senators that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could halt the world’s largest production of advanced semiconductors, wiping out up to $1 trillion a year.
“I will say that figure is way too small” because it costs only about 6% of China’s gross domestic product, said Chen-Yu Li, chief economist at Taishin Financial Holdings in Taiwan.
Li said a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait would affect other Asian economies such as Japan and South Korea, whose GDPs total at least $5 trillion. He also cited the market value of tech giants such as Apple, Nvidia, AMD, which Li estimates at least $3 trillion.
“If Taiwan is attacked, the US stock market could be $3 trillion wiped out,” Li said at a May 12 event hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“If I am Xi Jinping, I will be very happy to attack Taiwan. It’s only 6 percent.”
In a signed letter to Blinken, 42 nongovernmental organizations urged the top US diplomat to hold the Chinese government accountable for its human rights abuses, citing crackdowns on ordinary citizens who have participated in peaceful protests.
“Hong Kong police have arrested more than 20 people for commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre after banning the annual Victoria Park candlelight vigil,” the letter said.
Some information for this story comes from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.