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Blinken’s China visit unlikely to change US-China ties for better: Journalist

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

Relations between the United States and China are unlikely to witness major changes despite US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s high-stakes visit to Beijing this week, says a Chinese commentator.

Hu Xijin, a prominent Chinese journalist and commentator, in an interview with the Press TV website, said although he doesn’t expect major changes in Sino-US relations for the better after Blinken’s visit, it’s possible for the two sides “to listen to each other’s opinions through dialogue”.

“I think it is possible for China and the US to listen to each other’s opinions through this dialogue, and make joint efforts to prevent the downward spiral of bilateral relations and form a certain level of stability at a lower level,” said Hu, who was formerly chief editor of China’s state-run Global Times.

Blinken, the first top US diplomat since 2018 to visit Beijing, held wide-ranging talks with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang on Sunday to de-escalate tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

A US State Department spokesperson said in a statement Sunday that Blinken had “candid, substantive, and constructive talks” with Qin, raising concerns as well as “opportunities to explore cooperation,” while emphasizing the importance of open communication between the two arch-rivals.

Qin, for his part, said the China-US relationship is at “the lowest point since its establishment”, adding that it “does not serve the fundamental interests of the two peoples or meet the shared expectations of the international community”, Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

Qin reiterated China’s “firm position and raised clear demands” on the issue of Taiwan, describing it as the “core of China’s core interests” and “the most consequential issue and the most pronounced risk in the China-US relationship, the statement noted.

Hu, commenting on the Chinese foreign minister’s remarks in the wake of recent provocative transits by US warships in the Taiwan Strait, said the risks in the Taiwan Strait region are “undoubtedly increasing.”

“Taiwan authorities' pursuit of "independence" is completely different from the strategic goal of the Chinese mainland's commitment to unification. The United States is obviously partial to and conniving with the Taiwan authorities, using the Taiwan issue as a tool to contain China,” he told the Press TV website.

“This is the source of tension in the Taiwan Strait. But now, none of the three parties want to fight, which is another buffer zone for the situation.”

Earlier this month, Chinese authorities reported another provocative transit in the Taiwan Straits made by US and Canadian warships, with a Chinese destroyer reportedly forcing them to alter course.

Hu said the “complex and sharp games” played by the US and its allies will continue, but if such games violate China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the mainland will take measures against it.

“The continuation of this game has become a heavy burden for the continued development of the Chinese mainland,” he told the Press TV website, adding that China may take measures over it.

“If the United States and Taiwan restrain themselves, mainly the arms sales to Taiwan and not further enhance the official relationship between the United States and Taiwan, then the current situation in the Taiwan Strait can still be maintained for a period of time,” he hastened to add.

Two days prior to Blinken’s trip to Beijing, in a phone call Qin had called on the US to "stop undermining China's sovereignty, security, and development interests in the name of competition."

On whether the US is feeling rattled by China’s rise amid the change in the world order, the Global Times commentator said the US and its allies are “uncomfortable with the rise of China”, and “lack confidence in maintaining their own development and maintaining their original status in international affairs”.

“So they adopt geopolitical methods to conduct rogue-like discussions on development issues,” he said, referring to the US and some of its Western allies, adding that they “need to change themselves and rebuild their real competitiveness.”

Blinken also met top Chinese diplomat Wang Li late on Sunday. During the meeting, Wang denounced Washington’s “wrong perception” of China as the “root cause” of the deterioration of relations between the two countries and urged the US to stop “suppressing” China’s technological development and hyping the “China threat,” according to a readout from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Blinken is also likely to meet Chinese President Xinping on Monday, according to media reports.

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