The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken met this Sunday with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, in what would be the first visit by a US Secretary of State to China since 2018. During their visit, both agreed to meet again soon in Washington as part of the lines of communication that both powers want to keep open.
The State Department reported in a statement that the meeting between Blinken and Qin, which lasted for more than five hours, was a “sincere, substantive and constructive” conversation: “The secretary invited the foreign minister to Washington to continue the talks and agreed to schedule a reciprocal visit at a time suitable for both of us,” announced US diplomacy spokesman Matthew Miller.
During their meeting in Beijing, Blinken stressed “the importance of diplomacy and keeping communication channels open across the board to reduce the risk of miscalculation,” the spokesperson added.
For his part, the foreign minister was not so satisfied with their conversation and declared that relations between the two powers “are at their lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic relations.” Qin pointed out that the state of bilateral ties “does not respond to the fundamental interests of the two peoples or to the common expectations of the international community,” the state CCTV channel reported.
Likewise, Qin declared that “China’s policy towards the US has always maintained continuity and stability, and is fundamentally guided by the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and cooperation” and that the Asian country is committed to building a “stable, predictable and constructive” relationship.
The foreign minister expressed his hope that Washington “maintains an objective and rational perception of China, moves in the same direction, and handles unexpected eventualities calmly, professionally, and rationally.”
In addition to planning their next meeting in the United States, the two delegations agreed to “encourage the expansion of educational exchanges,” “actively explore the possibility of increasing passenger flights between China and the United States,” and “welcome more students, academics and businessmen to visit the other party.”
Blinken arrived in Beijing this Sunday morning, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit China since the president of the North American country, Joe Biden, began his term in 2021, a period in which bilateral relations have deepened. continued to deteriorate due to trade, geopolitical and economic tensions.
In fact, Qin and Blinken exchanged reproaches this Wednesday during a telephone conversation that marked the first high-level bilateral contact in months and in which Qin asked the United States to cease its efforts to harm sovereign security interests and Blinken urged to Qin to “keep the lines of communication open” to avoid a conflict.
Blinken arrived in Beijing four months behind schedule. The downing of an alleged Chinese spy balloon over US territory last February caused the visit that he had confirmed that same month to be canceled at the last minute.