Blinken meets with China’s foreign minister

The two top diplomats discussed Taiwan, South China Sea and the conflicts in Ukraine and the Mideast.
By Alex Willemyns for RFA
2024.02.16
Blinken meets with China’s foreign minister U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands during their meeting at the Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany, Feb. 16, 2024.
Wolfgang Rattay/Pool via AP

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday, with the pair discussing ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East and bilateral sticking points like the status of Taiwan.

“The two sides had a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in the relationship,” the U.S. State Department said.

Blinken emphasized the importance of progress on the deals made by U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their meeting in San Francisco in November, “including on counternarcotics cooperation and military-to-military communications,” it said.

The two top diplomats also discussed the status of Taiwan and the South China Sea, to which China claims complete sovereignty, as well as Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Israel’s invasion of Gaza and relations between North and South Korea, according to a statement. 

“Both sides recognized the importance of maintaining open lines of communication,” it said, “including consultations and high-level meetings in key areas in the coming months.”

The pair last met in person in the lead-up to November’s summit between Biden and Xi in San Francisco and also spoke on the phone in December. A phone call between Biden and Xi in the near future has been suggested, but no details about any plans were issued Friday.

Blinken also met with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on the sidelines of the conference. Wang, meanwhile, is set to also meet E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell at the conference.

ENG_CHN_WangYi_02162024.2.jpg
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, foreground, meets with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, background center, on the side of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 16, 2024. (Wolfgang Rattay/Pool via AP)

Earlier, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference that the United States had “responsibly managed competition” with China, “standing up to Beijing when necessary and also working together when it serves our interests”.

The annual security meeting in Munich runs until Sunday.

Edited by Malcolm Foster.

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