US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China at the end of the week, following months of diplomatic tension between the two countries. The visit, which he had previously cancelled in February due to alleged spying accusations against China, was confirmed by the US State Department. During his stay in Beijing, Blinken will meet with high-ranking officials from the Chinese government to maintain open channels of communication. He is expected to address bilateral and global issues, regional affairs, and potential areas of cooperation.
China urges respect for "core issues" in US-China relations
China's Foreign Ministry requested that the US respect its "core issues," including the Taiwan issue. The Ministry added that the US should not meddle in China's internal affairs and should not undermine China's sovereignty, security, or development interests in the name of competition. This statement followed a phone call between Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang.
Qin acknowledged that relations between China and the US have encountered new difficulties and challenges since the beginning of this year. Both sides must work together to overcome their differences, promote exchange and cooperation, and stabilize the relationship.
Multiple points of contention between US and China
The relationship between the US and China has been strained due to a wide range of issues. The Biden administration views China as the biggest geopolitical challenge and maintains a tough stance towards Beijing. In early February, a dispute regarding alleged Chinese spying further strained the relationship. The US military had shot down a suspected Chinese espionage balloon off the American coast, accusing China of trying to spy on military installations.
China countered that it was a civilian research balloon that went off course and complained that the Americans had overreacted. The US continued to assert that China operated a large international espionage program, which China denied.
Recent incidents raise concerns
Recent incidents involving military aircraft and ships from both countries in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait have exacerbated tensions. The US government accused China of an "unnecessarily aggressive" intercept maneuver. The US later reported an incident between two ships in the Taiwan Strait. The US government emphasized the importance of keeping communication channels between the two nations and their militaries open to prevent misunderstandings and miscalculations.
The announcement of Blinken's visit coincided with new accusations of espionage against the US. Blinken recently stated that China had been using the nearby island of Cuba for gathering intelligence on the US, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal.