America’s top diplomat Blinken met Chinese Vice President Han at the United Nations amid strained relations | Albiseyler

America's top diplomat Blinken met Chinese Vice President Han at the United Nations amid strained relations

Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken and Chinese Vice President Han Zheng shake hands as they pose for photos Monday, September 18, 2023 in New York, U.S. Julia Nikhinson/Pool via REUTERS Get license rights

NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the latest in a series of meetings aimed at reducing tensions between the world’s two largest countries. economy.

In a statement after the meeting, the US State Department said the talks included a “frank and constructive discussion”. The two agreed to maintain open lines of communication and discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea and the Taiwan Strait, the ministry added.

The talks between Blinken and Han could help set the stage for a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year.

It followed 12 hours of talks last weekend between White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malta.

“The world expects us to manage our relationship responsibly,” Blinken said in brief remarks at the start of his meeting with Han. “The United States is determined to do just that,” he added.

“From the perspective of the United States, face-to-face diplomacy is the best way to deal with areas where we disagree and also the best way to explore areas of cooperation between us,” Blinken said.

Blinken, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry traveled to China this year to thaw relations and ensure continued communication between the two countries amid tensions that flared after the US military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that toured the United States.

Biden expressed disappointment this month that Xi had missed the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in India, but said he would “see” him.

Another likely opportunity for Biden to meet with Xi is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in November, where US advisers have hoped for months to hold such a meeting.

Neither Blinken nor Han specifically mentioned in their notes whether such a meeting would take place.

“Currently, China-US relations are facing many difficulties and challenges,” Han told Blinken, adding that China hoped the US would make efforts to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and promote the stable development of relations.

“The world needs a stable and healthy relationship between China and the US,” Han said.

The US and China are at odds over issues ranging from Taiwan to trade, fentanyl and human rights. Critics of the Biden administration have questioned its strategy of engaging China, warning that a failure to curb provocations, including the recent China-linked hacking of the emails of senior US officials, could embolden Beijing.

FBI Director Chris Wray said at a conference on Monday that China has a cyberespionage program so vast that it is bigger than all of its major competitors combined.

Ryan Hass, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, said the pace of high-level exchanges between Washington and Beijing suggested the effort was “purposeful” and not just part of relationship management.

“I expect that both sides are working to set the stage for a productive meeting between the two leaders in November,” Hass said.

Report by Humeyra Pamuk and Michael Martin; additional reports by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Don Durfee, Sonali Paul and Sandra Maler

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Humeyra Pamuk is a senior foreign correspondent based in Washington, DC. He covers the US State Department and regularly travels with the US Secretary of State. During her 20 years with Reuters, she has posted in London, Dubai, Cairo and Turkey, covering everything from the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war to numerous Turkish elections and the Kurdish uprising in the southeast. In 2017, she won the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. He holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in European Union Studies.

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