USA-China meeting in New York despite tensions around Taiwan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken walks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as they meet in Bali in July 2022 (Stefani Reynolds / POOL/AFP/Archives)

The heads of American and Chinese diplomacy met Friday in New York, amid tensions over Taiwan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi shook hands and exchanged pleasantries in front of the cameras before starting their meeting on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly.

This is their first meeting since discussions in July in Bali where the two men had shown their desire to renew the dialogue.

A month later, the speaker of the American House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, went to Taiwan provoking the ire of Beijing and renewed tensions between the two great powers.

In an interview on Sunday, US President Joe Biden said he was ready to intervene militarily if China resorted to force, once again deviating from US strategic ambiguity.

In a pledge of appeasement, the Chinese minister said Thursday that he met in New York with the United States’ climate envoy, the former head of diplomacy John Kerry, despite the fact that Beijing has suspended cooperation in the matter. in retaliation for Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Mr Blinken went ahead with the interview on Friday despite easing his schedule due to the death of his father on Thursday. Just before the interview, he met with his Australian, Japanese and Indian counterparts in the “Quad”, a format that Beijing believes is made to isolate him.

“Our four countries know all too well the significant challenges we face…and that requires us to work together more than ever,” Blinken said.

In a speech on Thursday, Wang reiterated Beijing’s anger over US support for the island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

“The issue of Taiwan is becoming the most risky point of tension in US-China relations,” he said.

“Should it be mismanaged it could devastate bilateral relations” between the two countries, he warned before the Asia Society, a research center.

“Just as the United States does not allow Hawaii to leave, China has the right to plead for the unification of the country,” Wang added.

Friday’s talks could prepare for a possible first meeting between Mr. Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, probably in Bali in November on the sidelines of a G20 summit.

Wang said the two countries wanted to make “the US-China relationship work” without confrontation, while noting that Washington was playing on several fronts at once.

The US Congress is a strong supporter of Taiwan. A bill which notably provides for the first direct military aid from the United States to Taiwan, recently passed a key stage in the Senate.

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