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China warns Sec. Blinken to avoid ‘confrontation’ during next visit

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27, 2021. (State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha)
January 24, 2023

China’s leaders recently demanded Secretary of State Antony Blinken avoid “confrontation” during his next visit.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shared the concerns through a spokesman last week.

“China and the U.S. are in communication on the specifics of the visit,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said. “We also hope that the U.S. will perceive China correctly, pursue dialogue and win-win cooperation, not confrontation and zero-sum competition, work with China in the same direction, and fully deliver on the important common understandings reached between the two heads of state and bring the China-U.S. relations back to the track of sound and steady growth.”

The statement came after the announcement that Blinken plans to travel to China in the coming weeks to meet with Qin.

“We — both of our countries, Japan and the United States — have complex and consequential relationships with China, and there are clearly aspects of intense competition between us,” Blinken said during a recent press conference with Japanese officials about his plans to visit leaders in Beijing. “There are aspects as well of cooperation, and it’s important to see if we can pursue those.”

The controversy also comes as the U.S. recently warned China against assisting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

READ MORE: Blinken: China ‘decided’ to seize Taiwan on ‘much faster timeline’ than expected

“If we see the PRC taking action to systemically assist Russia evade sanctions, of course there will be costs,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

The tensions between the U.S. and China also concern Taiwan. China claims sovereignty over the island, while America supports Taiwan’s independent democratic government.

In October, Blinken expressed concern that China’s government appeared to be taking a faster timeline to take over rule of Taiwan under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“There has been a change in the approach from Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years,” Blinken said at the Stanford forum with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“Instead of sticking with the status quo that was established in a positive way, a fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline,” he added.

Tensions reach a concerning level in August when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan in support of its democratic government. Chinese forces responded to military drills near the island in protest.