U.S.-China Talks: Avoiding Clash Is The Responsibility of Both Powers

Although there are deep differences between the United States and China, it is commendable that the two countries reaffirmed the importance of communication. It is the responsibility of both powers to continue dialogue, avoid conflict and stabilize the international community as much as possible.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China and met with President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

At the beginning of the Blinken-Xi meeting, the Chinese president said of U.S.-China relations, “It is the shared desire of both the two peoples and the international community to see China and the U.S. strengthen dialogue, manage differences, and advance cooperation.”

Blinken responded that “We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the lines of communication between us … to deal responsibly with our differences so that we avoid any miscommunications, any misperceptions, any miscalculations.”

It has been argued that China’s economic growth has been slowing due to its zero-COVID policy, which attempted to completely contain the infectious disease, and the slump in the real estate market. Xi’s decision to hold discussions with Blinken may have been based on his desire not to further worsen relations with the United States.

However, this does not mean that the outstanding issues between the two countries have moved toward being resolved.

Blinken emphasized that it is a problem that China is exporting semiconductors that can be used for military purposes and other products to Russia, which continues its aggression against Ukraine. The U.S. secretary of state strongly urged Xi and Wang to stop China’s support for Russia, even by hinting at imposing sanctions on China.

Total trade between China and Russia last year reached a record high of $240.1 billion, up 26% from the previous year. China is also increasing its imports of crude oil from Russia. There is widespread belief that China is supporting Russia’s war of aggression.

If China touts itself as a responsible superpower, it would only make sense for Beijing to demand that Moscow immediately cease its attacks and withdraw from the occupied territories. If China continues to side with Russia, its credibility in the international community will only be undermined.

At the Blinken-Wang meeting, the Chinese official said that the Taiwan question is “the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations,” reiterating China’s conventional insistence that the United States should not be involved in the Taiwan issue.

Tensions have been rising in the South China Sea, where China and the Philippines are engaged in a territorial dispute as China Coast Guard ships have repeatedly used water cannons against Philippine vessels.

When Blinken expressed concern about this situation, Wang responded that China hopes the Unite States will “stop forming exclusive small groupings.” It seems that Wang was trying to put a brake on the efforts by Japan, the United States and the Philippines to strengthen cooperation in the security field.

But the biggest reason for the progress in cooperation among the three countries is China’s groundless claim of its rights in almost all areas of the South China Sea and its coercive actions. If China wants to stabilize U.S.-China relations, it will have to change its hegemonic actions first.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 1, 2024)