US and Chinese foreign ministers discuss need to ‘responsibly manage’ relationship amid tensions over Taiwan.
Washington, DC – The United States’s top diplomat has told his Chinese counterpart that the two countries must keep communication channels open, the US State Department says, as global competition and tensions persist between Washington and Beijing.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
“The Secretary discussed the need to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the US-PRC [People’s Republic of China] relationship, especially during times of tension,” the State Department said in a readout of the talks.
The meeting came just days after US President Joe Biden angered Beijing by reiterating that American forces would defend Taiwan in the case of a Chinese invasion.
China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, said earlier this week that it “strongly deplores and rejects” Biden’s remarks.
On Friday, the State Department said Blinken emphasised Washington’s commitment to “maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” in accordance with the one China policy, under which the US only recognises the Chinese government.
Despite not recognising Taiwan’s independence, the US has trade and security relations with the island.
Last month, tensions between Washington and Beijing spiked to new heights after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a top Democrat, visited Taiwan in a show of defiance to China’s claim to the island.
In remarks to the UNGA on Wednesday, Biden said the US opposes “unilateral changes in the status quo” in Taiwan by either side. He also stressed that Washington does not want a confrontation with Beijing.
“Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China as we manage shifting geopolitical trends: the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader,” Biden said.
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a cold war. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.”
For his part, Blinken on Friday “stressed that preserving peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is critical to regional and global security and prosperity”, the State Department said in the statement describing his meeting with Wang.
The US secretary of state also renewed warnings against China providing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the statement added.
Earlier on Friday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua cited Wang as calling for “win-win cooperation” between Washington and Beijing based on “equality and respect”.
Wang also warned that the Taiwan issue would likely have “disruptive impacts on bilateral relations if handled improperly”, according to Xinhua.