US: Xi and Blinken remain steadfast as they exchange kind words
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
Despite the fact that the meeting between Antony Blinken and Xi Jinping on Monday lasted only 35 minutes, both parties maintained that it represented progress in the strained relationship. While maintaining their respective core interests, the two men exchanged pleasantries.
It was a diplomatic coup for the highly anticipated visit that the US secretary of state was able to meet China’s leader at all. Although Blinken is the highest-ranking US official to visit Beijing since 2018, it was unknown whether he would meet China’s leader prior to his arrival.
In comparison to Blinken’s seven and a half-hour marathon meeting with Qin Gang, his Chinese counterpart, the meeting was brief. However, it marked the conclusion of an effort to stabilize the tense relationship that existed between the two largest economies in the world.
Wen-ti Sung, a political scientist at the Australian National University, stated, “China’s top leader personally meeting a US envoy lower than him in rank signals to Chinese government that China is in a gracious mood. It gives Chinese bureaucrats political cover to extend an olive branch and make occasional compromises necessary to repair relations.”
A Chinese transcript of the Xi-Blinken meeting says that Xi said that China would not “challenge or replace” the western superpower and that China would “respect the interests of the US.” Additionally, Xi exhorted the United States to “respect China and not harm China’s legitimate rights and interests.”
Prior to Blinken’s visit, the United States had made it clear that it did not anticipate any breakthroughs. Rather, the goal was to stop the relationship from getting any worse. However, the Wall Street Journal reported just one day after Blinken’s meeting that China was also in talks to set up a new joint military training facility in Cuba, highlighting the ongoing mistrust between China and the United States. Beijing’s interactions with Cuba, according to some analysts, are a response to the United States’ cooperation with Taiwan.
Blinken insisted that the United States opposed moves toward Taiwanese independence and favored maintaining the status quo on the Taiwan issue.
However, endeavors to reestablish more unmistakable roads of collaboration were repelled. After the spy balloon incident in February, Beijing refused Washington’s request to resume military-to-military communication channels. Additionally, the Chinese side has cited US sanctions against Chinese institutions, individuals, and businesses as a communication obstacle.