Home world China FM calls for 'stable' US ties on visit to weigh Xi summit

China FM calls for 'stable' US ties on visit to weigh Xi summit

China FM calls for 'stable' US ties on visit to weigh Xi summit
Published October 27, 2023 Updated October 27, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

WASHINGTON — China’s top diplomat Wang Yi voiced hope on Thursday (Oct 26) for more stable relations with the United States (US) after months of turbulence as he paid a rare trip to Washington to prepare for a potential visit by President Xi Jinping.

President Joe Biden has invited Mr Xi to San Francisco to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, but he has also stood firm on China in the run-up, keeping up a stream of targeted sanctions and staunchly backing US allies in disputes with Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began by meeting Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who told his guest that he looked forward to “constructive conversations” that will include a dinner and more formal talks.

Mr Wang told Mr Blinken, who paid a visit to Beijing in June, that China wanted to “reduce misunderstanding”.

“We seek to expand cooperation that will benefit both sides so that we can stabilise US-China relations and return them to the track of healthy, stable and sustainable development,” Mr Wang said.

Acknowledging that differences will still come up, Mr Wang said that China hoped to respond “calmly, because we are of the view that what is right and what is wrong is not determined by who has the stronger arm or the louder voice”.

On Friday, Mr Wang will speak at the White House with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. No meeting has been announced with Mr Biden, but an encounter is widely expected after Mr Xi received Mr Blinken in Beijing.

US officials have repeatedly spoken of creating “guardrails” with China to prevent worst-case scenarios and have sought, without success, to restore contact between the two militaries.

“We’re going to compete with China (in) every way according to the international rules — economically, politically, in other ways. But I’m not looking for conflict,” Mr Biden said on Wednesday as he welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Mr Biden also warned China of US treaty obligations to the Philippines, which said that Chinese vessels deliberately hit Manila’s boats in dispute-rife waters — an account contested by Beijing.

Tensions have been particularly high over Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy claimed by Beijing which over the past year has launched major military exercises in response to actions by US lawmakers.

China’s defence ministry on Thursday accused Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party of pushing the island toward a “dangerous situation of war”.


Robert Daly, director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, said Mr Wang will likely seek assurances that the Biden administration will not “embarrass” Mr Xi if he comes to San Francisco, either through harsh new policies or public comments.

“They would like to have a smooth glide path and then a smooth exit from the meeting,” he said.

Mr Daly said the two powers had very different views on what “stable” ties mean, with the United States having no intention of changing course from viewing China as a threat and applying pressure.

“By stabilisation, we mean that we want to be able to do that without greatly increasing the chance of conflict,” Mr Daly said.

“The Chinese view is that stabilisation would mean America ceasing this relentless stream of provocations and insults such that China is free to focus on its extremely weak domestic economy,” he said.

The Biden administration in recent months has tightened export curbs on chips to China, stepped up military support for Taiwan and issued sanctions targeting individual Chinese over support for Iran’s drone program and overproduction of chemicals that make fentanyl, the painkiller behind an addiction epidemic in the United States.

Mr Biden has also championed alliances in the face of China’s rise. He has forged a new three-way military alliance with Australia and Britain and promoted the “Quad” with Australia, India and Japan.

The United States and China have also traded barbs over the conflict in the Middle East, where Biden has been Israel’s foremost ally.

The diplomacy with China comes as the United States enters an election season in which Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, who is seeking to return to the White House, has made hawkish criticism of Beijing a signature policy. AFP