NEW YORK (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday stepped up its diplomatic efforts to get China to end its provocative actions against Taiwan and warned it against any active support for Russia in its war against Ukraine.
According to US officials, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made the announcement about both cases in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Friday on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly in New York. The session was one of the few that Blinken kept in his schedule after his father’s death on Thursday.
The officials did not elaborate on China’s response, but said Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded to the reports and that the two men discussed the need to “maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage U.S.-China relations, especially during times of tension.” .”
The talks between Blinken and Wang come amid a period of intense tension on both issues and ahead of an expected meeting in November between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. Biden’s recent comments about Taiwan and China’s tacit support for the war in Ukraine are just two of the latest irritants in relations between Washington and Beijing.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken reassured Wang of the administration’s commitment to “maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” despite Biden’s assertion earlier this week that the U.S. would send troops to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
China considers the self-governing island of Taiwan to be its sovereign territory, does not rule out the possibility of reunifying it with the mainland by force, and has intensified military activity in the area in recent months. The activity is at least partly a response to high-level US congressional visits to Taipei, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and increased US arms sales.
Blinken “emphasized that maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is critical to regional and global security and prosperity,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. It added that the US remains committed to its “one China policy” which does not support Taiwan independence.
As for Russia, U.S. officials said Blinken highlighted the damage that would be done to Sino-U.S. relations if Beijing took a more active role in supporting the war in Ukraine. U.S. officials have said they are cautiously optimistic about recent comments by Chinese leaders about their concerns about the war and its aftermath, a point Blinken wanted to drive home.
Blinken “highlighted the consequences if the PRC supported Moscow’s invasion of a sovereign state,” Price said in a statement. “PRC” means the official name of China, the People’s Republic of China.
Relations between the US and China have become increasingly strained in recent years due to a number of issues, including the persecution of Muslims and ethnic minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region, the suppression of dissent in Tibet and Hong Kong, and China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea and against Taiwan and the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, Price said that the US remains “open to cooperation with the PRC where our interests intersect.” One area where the US hopes to continue coordinating is climate change.
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