Thursday, 29 February, 2024

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Beijing warns that Biden-Xi talks might not happen


China’s Foreign Ministry has pointed out that hopes for talks next month between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping may be dashed unless Washington can start abiding by an agreement that the two leaders reached last year.

At issue is a proposed Biden-Xi summit on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders meeting in San Francisco, which is scheduled to begin on November 14. White House officials have told US media outlets that the talks are “expected” to happen, but the Chinese government has not yet confirmed that Xi has committed to meeting with Biden.

The road to a San Francisco summit will not be “smooth sailing,” and the two governments cannot rely on “autopilot” to make it happen, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Sunday in a statement“To this end, the two sides must effectively return to Bali,” the ministry added, referring to the consensus that Xi and Biden reached when they met last November in Indonesia.

The ministry issued its statement following Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Washington for meetings on Friday and Saturday with Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Wang said that although Beijing attaches “great importance” to stabilizing Sino-US relations, the two governments must put into practice their past commitments to “remove interference, overcome obstacles, enhance consensus and gather outcomes.”

Since Biden took office in January 2021, ties between the two countries have deteriorated amid a trade row, Washington’s alleged meddling in the Taiwan Strait and disagreements over the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Biden has repeatedly insulted the Chinese government, referring to Xi as a “dictator” and telling political donors that China is run by “bad folks.”

Tensions escalated when Biden ordered the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon in February. Chinese officials insisted that the balloon was a civilian craft that was blown off course. The Pentagon later conceded that the balloon did not gather intelligence as it crossed the US.

Wang said that to eliminate “interference” between the countries, they must abide by their past communiques, including US respect for China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. He called for following Xi’s proposed principles of “mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” to stabilize relations.

According to a White House statement, Sullivan and Wang had “candid” discussions on such key issues as the Israel-Hamas war, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Taiwan Strait. “National Security Advisor Sullivan discussed concerns over China’s dangerous and unlawful actions in the South China Sea,” the statement said. “He raised the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Credit: RT News

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