Antony Blinken Arrives In Beijing, Becoming First US State Secretary To Visit China In 5 Years

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BEIJING: Antony Blinken arrived in China on Sunday (local time) and became the US’ first Secretary of State in five years to make a visit to Beijing, The Washington Post reported. On a two-day visit to China, Blinken is expected to hold a high-stakes meeting aimed at stabilizing a relationship under historic stress. His hosts previewed the tense visit with multiple rebukes of the United States, accusing Washington of engaging in “irresponsible bullying” and living under the “illusion” they could deal with China from a “position of strength.”

Earlier, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang, during the telephonic conversation with Blinken, warned that he should “show respect” for Beijing’s position on Taiwan and also made clear that America must stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, reported The Washington Post. Even after this, Blinken showed hope for maintaining open channels of communication as well as bilateral and global issues.

Last month, President Joe Biden predicted a thaw in China’s anger over the US downing of its high-altitude surveillance balloon in February. The White House has indicated that Blinken’s trip could unlock a series of meetings between US and Chinese officials, including a leader-to-leader engagement with President Xi Jinping.

“I’m hoping that over the next several months I’ll be meeting with Xi again, and talking about legitimate differences we have but also how … to get along,” Biden told reporters before leaving for Philadelphia.

Blinken arrived in the early morning with a full agenda: meetings with Gang, the Communist Party’s top foreign policy official Wang Yi, US business leaders, American embassy personnel, exchange students and potentially Xi himself, according to The Washington Post.

According to the State Department’s statement, Secretary Blinken will meet with senior PRC officials where he will discuss the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the US-PRC relationship. He will also raise bilateral issues of concern, global and regional matters, and potential cooperation on shared transnational challenges.

It is pertinent to mention that earlier, he was scheduled to visit China in February 2023, but it was postponed after a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the United States sparked indignation from the Biden administration.





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