(New York) The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken met Chinese Vice-President Han Zheng in New York on Monday, arguing for the need for “responsible” management of the tense relationship with Beijing.
“I think it is a good thing to increase the number of high-level meetings” between the United States and China, he declared at the start of his meeting with the Chinese official, who took place at the Chinese mission to the UN in New York.
The discussions aim to “ensure that we keep the lines of communication open and that we demonstrate that we are managing the relationship between our two countries responsibly,” he said.
Washington and Beijing are stepping up efforts to calm a tumultuous relationship.
The meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations Annual General Assembly comes after that, this weekend in Malta, between Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and the head of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Yi.
“The two sides had frank, substantive and constructive discussions,” the White House said in a statement over the weekend.
A senior official of the American executive, who requested anonymity, specified that the meeting had lasted a total of 12 hours over two days, and recalled that the last meeting of this type, and at this level, dates back to the month of last May.
It was around the same time, in the spring, that the American president predicted a “thaw” in the Sino-American relationship, which had soured in February following a balloon flying over the United States Chinese.
China and the United States are “committed to consultations” in certain areas, in particular about “policy and security developments in the Asia-Pacific,” according to the White House source.
The United States and China have renewed dialogue in recent months with a succession of visits by senior American officials to Beijing, including Antony Blinken.
This dialogue could foreshadow a possible face-to-face meeting between Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the next APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in mid-November in San Francisco (California) , but neither Washington nor Beijing have confirmed it at this stage.
Bilateral relations still remain tense, with trade disputes, Chinese expansion in the South China Sea and the issue of the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan remaining stumbling blocks.