US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made a two-day visit to China in an attempt to reduce bilateral tensions and establish a more constructive dialogue. The visit marks the first time in nearly five years that a US chief diplomat has traveled to China.
While no significant progress is expected on the thorny issues, the goal of the visit was to open direct lines of communication and responsibly manage the bilateral relationship. During his stay, Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing, where both expressed their commitment to maintaining dialogue.
Originally scheduled for February, Blinken’s visit was postponed due to the detection of a Chinese spy balloon over US territory. However, President Joe Biden has expressed a desire to meet again with Chinese President Xi Jinping in an attempt to address legitimate differences and seek areas of understanding.
Among the issues of contention are trade and the Taiwan situation, with China conducting military maneuvers and drills in response to US-Taiwan interactions. Prior to Blinken’s visit, China urged the US to respect its concerns and work together on the basis of mutual respect and equality.
While this visit is not expected to resolve the major issues in the relationship between the two countries, it is seen as a restart of direct dialogue and a sign that they are willing to move from confrontational rhetoric to more serious discussions. The Biden administration has maintained a tough stance toward China on some issues, such as export controls, but has also pursued areas of cooperation, such as combating climate change.
In short, Blinken’s visit to China seeks to establish more direct and responsible communication between the two nations, although it is recognized that resolving outstanding issues will take time and effort.