US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who is in China for two day visit, met his Chinese counterpart. US state department said ‘candid ‘ talks were held. There was no elaboration of candid.
Meeting was held at Diaoyutai State Guest House, a lavish estate that typically hosts visiting dignitaries. Meeting started with traditional diplomatic greetings.
Nothing special was announced after the meeting.
The greeting was business-like, underscoring the chilly relations that have developed between the two superpowers in recent years.
A planned Blinken visit in February this year was called off after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew in US airspace.
US officials say the main goal of Blinken’s visit is to stabilise a relationship that has become extremely tense.
During his visit to US ahead of Blinkin’s visit Mr Qin said Taiwan was the “most prominent risk” for China-US relations and described the Taiwan issue as one of “China’s core interests”, . Reportedly Qin has said that The United States should respect China’s concerns, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security and development interests in the name of competition.
China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control, but Taiwan sees itself as distinct from the Chinese mainland with its own constitution and leaders. However US President last year stated to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack from China.
China strongly reacted to US stance on Taiwan .
Both sides do not see any major break through in the ongoing visit.
The main issues between both countries which Americans were expecting to be discussed include the war in Ukraine, trade disputes over advanced computer technologies, the fentanyl drug epidemic in the US and Chinese human rights.
But Chinese officials have reacted coolly to Mr Blinken’s visit, questioning whether the US is sincere in its efforts to mend relations.
It is not clear whether he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr Blinken is the highest-ranking US government official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
Before start of his visit, Blinken told reporters in Washington “If we want to make sure, as we do, that the competition that we have with China doesn’t veer into conflict, the place you start is with communicating,” .
A meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping in Bali in November briefly eased fears of a new Cold War, but since the balloon incident in last February, high-level communication between the two sides have been rare.
Blinken’s visit aims to achieve three objectives.
First and foremost, Mr Blinken’s visit is about re-establishing diplomatic interactions of any kind.
President Biden’s relations with China started off on a rocky note, in part because he has been unwilling to cancel trade measures enacted by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
That includes billions of dollars in import tariffs on Chinese-made products.
In some areas, Mr Biden has squeezed even harder, with restrictions on US computer-chip exports to China in an effort to maintain US superiority in the most advanced electronics technologies.
China responded by enacting its own ban on computer memory chips sold by Micron, the largest US manufacturer.
Mr Campbell acknowledged China’s concerns but said the US would defend and explain what it’s done so far and what could lie ahead.
If computer technology is an area destined for fierce competition between the two superpowers, the illicit drug trade may provide more room for co-operation.
The US wants to limit the export of Chinese-produced chemical components used to make fentanyl, a synthetic opioid many times more powerful than heroin.
The rate of US drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl has more than tripled in the last seven years.
After the balloon incident, there were reports that China was considering sending weapons to Russia, where they would be immediately used in the war against Ukraine.
US government officials have backed away from those accusations of late, removing what could have been a particularly contentious issue for the two nations that risked turning the Ukraine-Russia conflict into a proxy war between the US and China.
But expect Mr Blinken to echo warnings given to the Chinese in Vienna that there would be serious consequences if China gives military and financial assistance to Russia.
US and Chinese warships have been facing off in a high-stakes game of chicken over the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.
A satisfactory outcome from this trip for both sides might be simply the opening of communication channels that prevent an incident leading to military conflict. Achieving more may be a tall task for now – and more extensive co-operation could become more difficult for Mr Biden as anti-China rhetoric in Washington is sure to heat up when the 2024 presidential elections approach.