Blinken Shakes Hands With Xi in China, But No Breakthrough on Anything.

"Say Peace". US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets China's President Xi Jinping to shake hands and pose for photos.
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By Editor-June 19th, 2023.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping today, as the U.S. Secretary of State put the final touches to his  two-day visit to Beijing which had been aimed at easing increased tensions between the two superpowers.

The 35-minute meeting at the Great Hall of the People had been expected and was seen as important to the success of the trip by signaling that the major political figures on each side were talking to each other on politite terms, but neither side had confirmed it would happen until a State Department official announced it to the press corps just an hour beforehand.

In footage of the meeting released by state broadcaster CCTV, Xi is heard to say “The two sides have agreed to follow through on the common understandings President Biden and I have reached in Bali.”

In earlier meetings between Blinken and senior Chinese officials, the two sides expressed willingness to talk but showed little inclination to bend from hardened positions on disagreements ranging from trade, to Taiwan, to human rights conditions in China and Hong Kong, to Chinese military assertiveness in the South China Sea, to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Xi said that they had made progress and reached agreements on “some specific issues” without elaborating what the issues were. “This is very good,” Xi said.

“I hope that through this visit, Mr. Secretary, you will make more positive contributions to stabilizing China-US relation,” Xi added.

Following his trip Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the two days of diplomatic talks as “candid, substantive, and constructive,” while acknowledging the two superpowers had “profound differences.”

Blinken told NPR Morning Edition host Leila Fadel that it was clear the U.S. relationship with China was “unstable” coming into the talks.

“Direct engagement, sustained communication at senior levels, is the best way to responsibly manage our relationship,” he added.

Chinese officials have expressed interest in speaking with high-level officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The United States’ top diplomat said more talks are expected, but he declined to identify which officials may travel to the country to discuss economic matters in the weeks ahead.

“I’ll leave that to the near future,” he said.

Sources: Global News, Al Jazeera, NPR, news agencies.


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