US Secretary of State Antony Blinken summoned China’s Foreign Minister to Washington for an official visit on Sunday, as Beijing stated bilateral relations were at their “lowest” since the two countries established diplomatic relations in the 1970s.
Antony Blinken arrived in Beijing for the high-stakes official tour, the first by any US top ambassador since 2018.
He had six hours of bilateral talks with Qin Gang.
Blinken stated on Twitter that he and Qin talked about how the two countries “can responsibly manage the relationship between our two countries through open channels of communication.”
Blinken will meet with Chinese officials again on Monday, according to the US State Department.
The conversation, according to US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, was “candid, substantive, and constructive.”
Miller stated that Blinken invited Qin to a reciprocal visit to the United States. Qin, on the other hand, stated that “the China-US relationship is at its lowest point since its establishment.”
“This does not serve the fundamental interests of the two peoples or meet the shared expectations of the international community,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Qin further stated that the relationship is fundamentally founded on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s values of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win collaboration.
He stated that the Taiwan problem is at the heart of China’s interests, and that it is “the most important issue in the relations, as well as the most prominent risk.”
With the two sides’ strategic competition heating up, Beijing cut military-to-military contact channels with Washington after then-House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last August.
Blinken’s trip to Beijing, which Biden and Xi agreed on during a meeting in Indonesia last November, was abruptly cancelled in February when a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was found flying across the US.
According to Hua, the two countries “agreed to encourage more people-to-people and educational exchanges, as well as had positive discussions on increasing passenger flights between the two countries.”
According to Hua, the two sides also agreed to encourage more mutual visits by students, researchers, and businesspeople.