US urges China to ‘responsibly manage’ strained ties

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the release of the “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” at the State Department in Washington, DC, US. — Reuters/File

Long-term tensions are thought to persist between China and the United States regardless of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s rare trip to Beijing seeking calm in the bilateral tensions, reported AFP Wednesday. 

His trip marks one in nearly five years of the US diplomat entering China with Mike Pompeo’s brief visit being the last in 2018. 

The State Department confirmed the trip after changes were made to one earlier, which was cancelled amid Washington detected what is said a Chinese spy balloon.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his US counterpart exchanged a phone call in which Blinken reiterated “the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the relationship between the two countries.”

The world’s largest two economies have had a rocky relationship over recent years regarding issues concerning Taiwan, trade and human rights amongst other persisting ones.

Though there are no expectations for any groundbreaking conclusions, Daniel Kritenbrink, a top State Department official for East Asia, suggested the US is trying to be “realistic about the trip.” 

“We’re not going to Beijing with the intent of having some sort of breakthrough or transformation but, rather a sincere desire to manage our competition in the most responsible way possible,” he added.

He said that the “US hopes the event could reduce the risk of miscalculation so that there is no potential conflict”.

Kurt Campbell, lead in Asia policy at the White House, expected China to be around on the world stage… for the future.”

Campbell also added that the US expected China to take more “provocative steps” over the self-governing democracy of Taiwan claimed by Beijing.

On the other hand, China has accused the US of causing trouble in Taiwan through the sales of arms and visits by senior lawmakers.

Qin had previously warned the US about the relations facing “new difficulties and challenges” since the beginning of the year.

“China has viewed and managed China-US relations in accordance with the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation put forward by President Xi Jinping,” he added.

Biden and Xi met in Bali, in November a year earlier where it was agreed upon to try and prevent tensions, including sending Blinken to Beijing. 

An extensive, closed-door meeting between Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor and Wang Yi, a senior Chinese diplomat took place in Vienna last month.

As compared to ex-president Donald Trump, Biden has limited areas for cooperation between the two countries as tensions keep building.

Just last week, China was accused of operating an intelligence unit in Cuba by the White House. The base lies 90 miles (150km) off South Florida and can cause a challenge for the US.

When asked about the base, China denied any knowledge of the situation and continued by criticising US policy on Cuba. 

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