USA-China: Blinken’s Delicate Mission in Beijing

Beijing to Blinken: “No Compromises on Taiwan.”

Eight hours of closed-door talks in Beijing between Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gan and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. They are followed by negotiations with the “real head” of Beijing diplomacy, Wang Yi. “No Compromises on Taiwan.” Today, Blinken might receive Chinese President Xi Jinping, but, according to Chinese media, “everything will be decided at the last moment, depending on the results of negotiations on Saturday and Sunday.”

The first meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, including dinner, lasted eight hours, which was much longer than expected. According to US delegation sources, Blinken urged the Chinese leadership to keep channels of communication open to avoid “false perceptions and miscalculations.” In February last year, Blinken’s trip was canceled by Washington at the last minute due to the crisis related to the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by F-22 fighters after flying across the entire US territory from west to east.

In addition, Blinken assured that America does not want a “separation” between the two world’s largest economies and finally raised “problematic issues, as well as opportunities to explore cooperation in transnational issues.” Washington is looking to limit China’s access to high technology that could be used for the country’s defense industry. In response, Beijing banned cooperation between Chinese companies and the US company Micron, one of the world’s leading microchip manufacturers. As for “transnational issues,” Washington is trying to dissuade China from further rapprochement with Russia. The next day, Blinken was received by Wang Yi, unofficially referred to as “the real head of Chinese diplomacy.” Wang Yi is the director of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party and, according to the Beijing hierarchy, is the “dominant figure” in China’s foreign policy, in comparison to Minister Qin Gang.

In the absence of an official press release, according to Chinese media, Wang Yi told Blinken that China would not accept “any compromises on Taiwan.”

“China has no room for compromise or concession on this issue,” Wang Yi said, urging the United States to “truly adhere to the principle of one and indivisible China, reaffirmed in the three joint US-China communiqués, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, and openly oppose independence of Taiwan.”

Finally, according to the AFP agency citing its own sources in the State Department in Washington DC, Blinken also “may be received by Chinese President Xi Jinping” on Monday. The meeting will be confirmed only at the last minute and may start at about 10:30 Italian time.

Anthony Blinken was the first US Secretary of State to visit China in nearly five years. The relations between Beijing and Washington have been severely damaged after the visit to Taiwan of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and five MPs from the US Democratic Party on August 2, 2022, which were heavily criticized. Shortly after her arrival, Pelosi said her visit was a sign of the “strong commitment of the United States to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.” The visit was strongly condemned by China that considers the island an integral part of its territory.