Blinken Arrives In China For Highest-Level U.S. Visit Since 2018

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Beijing on Sunday for the highest-level visit by a U.S. diplomat in nearly five years, with the aim of easing bilateral tensions.

While no one is expecting any major breakthroughs, given the many areas of friction, the idea remains to initiate a diplomatic thaw and maintain a dialogue to “responsibly manage the Sino-American relationship,” according to the State Department.

Next year will be an election year both in the United States and in Taiwan, which China regards as one of its provinces that it must reunify, by force if necessary.

On the sidelines of the trip, U.S. President Joe Blinken said he hoped to meet President Xi Jinping again “in the coming months” to “talk about our legitimate differences, but also about areas where we can get along.” Biden and Xi had a long and surprisingly cordial meeting in November 2022, during the G20 summit in Bali.

Speaking in Washington before his departure, Blinken was cautiously optimistic. The two-day trip should “open direct lines of communication so that our two countries can manage our relationship responsibly, including addressing certain challenges and misperceptions and avoiding miscalculations,” he said.

“Intense competition requires continuous diplomacy to ensure that it does not turn into confrontation or conflict,” he added, as “the world expects the US and China to cooperate,”

Among the main areas of dispute are trade and the autonomous democratic island of Taiwan, which Beijing has not ruled out seizing by force.

Blinken’s visit is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State to China since the October 2018 trip by his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, who went on to mastermind the confrontational strategy with Beijing of the final years of Donald Trump’s presidency. –i24 News



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