NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) — China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine complicates U.S.-China relations at a time when they are already embroiled in division and enmity over many other issues , US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Chinese counterpart on Saturday. .
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the United States for the slowdown in relations and said US policy had been derailed by what he called a misperception of China as a threat.
“A lot of people think the United States has China phobia,” he said, according to a Chinese statement. “If such an expansion of the threat is allowed to develop, US policy toward China will be a dead end with no way out.”
During five hours of talks in their first meeting since October, Blinken said he was deeply concerned about China’s stance on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and did not believe Beijing’s protests which he was neutral in the conflict.
The talks had been staged in a new effort to try to curb or at least manage the endemic hostility that has come to define recent relations between Washington and Beijing.
“We are concerned about the alignment of the PRC with Russia,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali. He said it is difficult to be “neutral” in a conflict in which there is a clear aggressor but even that was possible, “I don’t believe China is acting neutrally.”
The Chinese statement said the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on Ukraine but did not provide any details.
The Biden administration had hoped China, with its long history of opposing what it sees as interference in its own internal affairs, would take a similar stance with Russia and Ukraine. But he did not, choosing instead what U.S. officials see as a hybrid stance that undermines the rules-based international order.
Blinken said every nation, including China, stands to lose if this order is eroded.
The pair met a day after both attended a gathering of senior diplomats from the Group of 20 rich and major developing countries that ended without a joint call to end Russia’s war in Ukraine or plan on how to manage its impacts on food and energy. Security.
However, Blinken said he believed Russia came out of the G-20 meeting isolated and alone, with most participants voicing their opposition to the war in Ukraine. However, ministers were unable to reach a unified G-20 call to end the conflict.
“There was a strong consensus and Russia was left isolated,” Blinken said of individual condemnations of Russia’s actions by various ministers, some of whom avoided conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
He noted that Lavrov left the meeting early, possibly because he didn’t like what he was hearing from his counterparts.
“It was very important that he heard loud and clear from around the world the condemnation of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said, adding, “We don’t see any signs that Russia, at this point, is ready to engage in diplomacy”.
Regarding China, Blinken said he and Wang discussed a range of contentious issues ranging from tariffs to trade and human rights in Taiwan and disputes in the South China Sea which have all been complicated by the Chinese position on Ukraine.
Wang called on the United States to lift tariffs on imports from China as soon as possible, stop interfering in his country’s internal affairs, and refrain from harming its interests on behalf of human rights and democracy. He also accused the United States of using “salami-slicing” tactics in Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its territory and is expected to come under its control.
Just two days earlier, the countries’ top military officers faced off in Taiwan in a virtual meeting. Blinken said he underscored U.S. concerns about China’s “increasingly provocative rhetoric and activities near Taiwan and the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” Taiwan”. He added that he had also raised human rights concerns about minorities in Tibet and the western region of Xinjiang.
Wang refuted some “erroneous US views” on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea, according to the Chinese statement.
US officials had said in advance that they expected no breakthrough from Blinken’s talks with Wang. But they said they hoped the conversation could help keep lines of communication open and create “guardrails” to guide the world’s two largest economies as they navigate growing issues. complex and potentially explosive.
“We are committed to managing this relationship, this competition responsibly, as the world expects,” Blinken said.
The United States and China have taken increasingly confrontational positions, including on Ukraine, which some fear could lead to miscalculations and conflict. The United States cautiously observed China’s refusal to criticize the Russian invasion, while condemning Western sanctions against Russia and accusing the United States and NATO of provoking the conflict.
At the G-20 meeting, Wang made an indirect reference to China’s policy on global stability, saying “putting one’s own security above others’ security and stepping up military blocs will only divide the international community and make themselves less secure,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
On Thursday, the Chairman of the Chinese Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Li Zuocheng, criticized his American counterpart, General Mark Milley, for Washington’s support for Taiwan.
Li demanded that the United States stop military “collusion” with Taiwan, saying China had “no room for compromise” on issues affecting its “core interests”.
The meeting between Li and Milley follows fiery comments by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at a regional security conference last month also attended by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Wei accused the United States of trying to “hijack” support from countries in the Asia-Pacific region and turn them against Beijing, saying Washington was seeking to advance its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism”.
At the same meeting in Singapore, Austin said China was causing instability with its claim to Taiwan and increased military activity in the region.
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