Xi meets Blinken: Major-country competition does not represent the trend of the times

12:12 21.06.2023 •

Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) meets with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing on June 19, 2023.
Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing, calling on the US side to adopt a rational and pragmatic attitude to avoid major-country competition, and to respect China’s legitimate rights and interests, writes Chinese international ‘The Global Times’.

The meeting between Xi and Blinken itself signaled that the talks between Chinese and US senior diplomats reached some consensus, reflecting that the Chinese government highly values the stable development of China-US relations, underscoring its sincerity and goodwill and paving the way for the next phase of China-US high-level interactions in coming months.

The world needs a generally stable China-US relationship. Whether the two countries can find the right way to get along will have a bearing on the future and destiny of humanity, Xi told Blinken during the meeting. The common interests of the two countries should be valued, and their respective success is an opportunity and not a threat to each other, the Chinese top leader said.

President Xi stressed that major-country competition does not represent the trend of the times, still less can it solve America’s own problems or the challenges facing the world. China respects US’ interests and does not seek to challenge or displace the US. In the same vein, the US needs to respect China and must not hurt China’s legitimate rights and interests, Xi said.

The readout of the US side said that “the two sides had candid, substantive, and constructive discussions on key priorities in the bilateral relationship and on a range of global and regional issues. It also noted that “the two sides agreed to continue discussions on developing principles to guide the bilateral relationship, as discussed by President Biden and President Xi in Bali.”

The meeting came after China’s top diplomat Wang Yi pointed out the root cause of the current low ebb of China-US relations – the US’ erroneous perception of China, which leads to wrong policies toward China, in about three hours of talks with the US senior official.

“Xi’s meeting with Blinken reiterated the importance of China-US relations, as whether the two countries can get along with each other will affect the future of humankind. Also, Chinese side clearly pointed out the wrongdoings of the US in handling China relations,” Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

China has made it clear that current China-US relations are at their lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the root cause lies in the US’ incorrect perception of China, which has led to the formulation of erroneous policies toward China, Director-General of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yang Tao, said in summarizing the US diplomat’s trip.

It’s necessary for the US to reflect deeply and it should uphold an objective and rational understanding of China, work together with China, safeguard the political foundation of China-US relations, handle unexpected incidents calmly, professionally, and rationally while jointly manage differences and avoid strategic miscalculations, Yang said.

Although the Chinese top leader would typically meet with visiting US Secretary of State in line with tradition, Blinken’s meeting with Xi has been widely seen as an indication that his earlier talks with Chinese senior officials went smoothly or even beat expectations, as the meeting between Xi and Blinken was not confirmed until an hour before taking place.

“I think the overall result of Blinken’s visit is positive. Both sides have signaled a desire to initiate a mechanism for dialogue to reduce miscalculations, thus showing a willingness for manageable cooperation in the relationship,” Zhu Feng, director of the Institute of International Studies at Nanjing University, told the Global Times.

However, the problem is that there are structural contradictions between China and the US today. The core issue is that the US currently views China as the most important opponent to suppress. Therefore, it’s crucial that both countries further enhance their communication and dialogue, Zhu noted.

During the meeting with Xi, Blinken said President Biden believes that the US and China have an obligation to responsibly manage their relations. This is in the interests of the US, China and the world.

The US stands by the commitments made by Biden, namely that the US does not seek a new Cold War or to change China’s system, its alliances are not directed at China, it does not support “Taiwan independence”, and it does not seek conflict with China, Blinken noted.

Following the provocative visit of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island of Taiwan in August 2022 and the so-called transit of Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen through the US in late March and early April, China clearly pointed out to the US the serious flaws in its policy toward China and that the most representative one is on the Taiwan question, experts said.

“If the US continues selling weapons or increasing high-level interactions with DPP authorities in the island, where elections will take place next year, we’ll surely take countermeasures, which will not only make the situation in the Taiwan Straits unstable but also heavily affect China-US relations,” Wu said.

On the Taiwan question, China has no room for compromise or concession. The US side must truly adhere to the one-China principle set out in the three China-US joint communiqués, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and clearly oppose “Taiwan independence,” Wang told Blinken.

The Chinese and US Foreign Ministers concluded a “long candid, in-depth, and constructive” talk, reaching agreement on four sectors including maintaining high-level contacts and advancing the China-US joint working group to address specific issues while expanding people-to-people and educational exchanges between the two countries.

“What we can expect is that from now on, the two countries will see frequent high-level interactions including visits of ministerial-level officials, Wu said.

Blinken bends and does not look into Xi eyes

Specific proposals include forming trade alliances that exclude China, tightening control of hi-tech exports to China, strengthening the US naval and military presence in the Indo-Pacific, and forming security partnerships with Asian allies, writes Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a chairwoman of the New People’s Party from Hong Cong. She recalls the roots of the differences between the two powers:

“Convinced that the ballooning US trade deficit with China was the result of unfair trade, president Donald Trump triggered a trade war in March 2018, slapping tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium in a move seen as directed at China.

…The administration followed closely the measures to stifle China’s growth recommended by Blackwill and Tellis, and took them to a tougher level.

It not only enacted the Chips and Science Act to cut off China’s access to advanced semiconductors, but coerced its allies into doing the same, roiling supply chains, closing markets and hurting profits.

The US’ strategy of consolidating its great power status by shutting out China seems to be working. China’s exports to the US dropped by 8.5 per cent in the first five months of this year with the trade surplus also narrowing by 14.5 per cent year on year.

Stifling trade, investment and China’s access to advanced technology is not helping the US to solve its myriad domestic problems, including one with vast global implications: its humongous fiscal imbalance.

US national debt is forecast to rise from 98 per cent of its gross domestic product this year to 195 per cent by 2053. China’s slow growth will affect the US and the rest of the world; given the vast US fiscal imbalance and a drying up of savings, it could easily trigger another global financial crisis,” writes the Hong Cong politician.


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