Blinken meets China's VP Han at UNGA amid growing Sino-US tensions
The two senior officials agreed to maintain open communication lines between the two countries to "responsibly manage" their relations.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly UNGA in New York as tensions between the two countries reached historic highs in the past few months.
According to the State Department, talks involved "a candid and constructive discussion" regarding the war in Ukraine, the DPRK, and the Taiwan Strait, among other topics. The two officials also agreed to maintain open communication to manage the relations between the two countries.
“China-US relations face a lot of difficulties and challenges,” Han told Blinken. “It needs us both to display more sincerity, more efforts, and meet each other halfway.”
"The world needs stable and healthy China-U.S. relations," Han added.
On his part, Blinken mentioned that from the US perspective, "face-to-face diplomacy is the best way to deal with areas where we disagree, and also the best way to explore areas of cooperation between us."
The talks between the senior diplomats could pave the way for a meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping later this year, Reuters reported.
The meeting between Hand and Blinken occurred following two days of discussions in Malta between China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that lasted until Sunday.
China's Foreign Ministry stated that Wang told Sullivan that Taiwan was the “first insurmountable red line in Sino-US relations.”
“The United States must abide by the three Sino-US joint communiques and implement its commitment not to support ‘Taiwan independence’,” China’s Foreign Ministry quoted Wang as saying.
“China's development has strong endogenous driving force and follows inevitable historical logic. It cannot be stopped. The Chinese people's legitimate right to development cannot be deprived,” China's top diplomat added.
Earlier this month, Biden said he was "disappointed" that Xi skipped the G20 summit as he had hoped that the two could use this opportunity to engage in talks. However, Biden added that he is "going to get to see him."
The next probable chance for the US President to engage in discussions with China's Xi is during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit scheduled for November in San Francisco. US officials have been planning for such a meeting at this summit for several months.
China considers the One China principle a main condition when engaging with foreign countries. The political doctrine was reached during a joint communique between the US and the PRC where the former "acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China" and "does not challenge that position."
But in recent years, despite claiming otherwise, the US has been breaching its commitment to the policy, as it held several high-level talks with Taiwanese officials, boosted weapons sales to the island, and increased its military presence in the Taiwan Strait.