US and China spar

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and senior Chinese officials in Beijing as they discuss global issues.



April 26, 2024 - 3:19 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second right, dines with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, right, U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, front second left, and others at the Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant at the Yu Gardens in Shanghai on April 24. Photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and senior Chinese officials, stressing the importance of “responsibly managing” the differences between the United States and China as the two sides butted heads over a number of contentious bilateral, regional and global issues.

Talks between the two sides have increased in recent months, even as differences have grown. Blinken said he raised concerns with Xi about China’s support for Russia and its invasion of Ukraine, as well as other issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea, human rights and the production and export of synthetic opioid precursors.

Blinken sounded a positive note on recent progress made in bilateral cooperation, including in military communications, counternarcotics and artificial intelligence, on which the two sides agreed to start a dialogue on how to reduce risks from the rapidly emerging technology.

“We are committed to maintaining and strengthening lines of communication to advance that agenda, and again deal responsibly with our differences so we avoid any miscommunications, any misperceptions, any miscalculations,” he said.

But he stressed that “even as we seek to deepen cooperation, where our interests align, the United States is very clear-eyed about the challenges posed by (China) and about our competing visions for the future. America will always defend our core interests and values.”

Notably, he said he raised ongoing concerns about Beijing’s supply of materials, including machine tools and micro electronics, to Moscow that President Vladimir Putin is using to boost Russia’s defenses and its war on Ukraine.

“Russia would struggle to sustain its assault on Ukraine without China’s support,” Blinken told reporters after his meeting with Xi.

“Fueling Russia’s defense industrial base not only threatens Ukrainian security, it threatens European security,” he added. “As we’ve told China for some time, ensuring transatlantic security is a core U.S. interest. In our discussions today. I made clear that if China does not address this problem, we will.”

Blinken did not elaborate on how the U.S. would address the matter if China did not, but Washington has imposed large numbers of sanctions against Chinese firms for doing business with countries such as Russia, Iran and North Korea.

He said he urged China to use its influence “to discourage Iran and its proxies from expanding the conflict in the Middle East ” and convince North Korea “to end its dangerous behavior and engage in dialogue.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday hailed military cooperation with China during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Dong Jun in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

“Russian-Chinese military cooperation is an important element in increasing defense capability and maintaining global and regional stability. We regularly conduct joint operational and combat training on land, sea and in the air, and successfully practice combat training missions of varying degrees of complexity,” Shoigu said.

He said the cooperation is important as “new hotbeds of tension are emerging and old ones are exacerbating. In essence, this is the result of geopolitical adventures, selfish neo-colonial actions of the West.”

Blinken also discussed with Xi China’s maritime maneuvers in the disputed South China Sea, and reiterated “ironclad” American support for the Philippines, its oldest treaty ally in Asia.

Xi stressed that China and the U.S. must seek common ground “rather than engage in vicious competition.”