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The US tells China that its support for Russia is complicating relations

NUSA DUA — China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine complicates US-China relations at a time when they are already mired in disagreements and animosity over a host of other issues, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told his Chinese counterpart on Saturday.

In five hours of talks in their first face-to-face meeting since October, Blinken said he expressed deep concern to Foreign Minister Wang Yi about China’s position on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and did not believe Beijing’s protestations that it was neutral in the conflict.

The talks were organized in a new attempt to contain, or at least contain, the burgeoning hostility that has defined recent relations between Washington and Beijing.

“We are concerned about China’s alignment with Russia,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali. He said it was difficult to be “neutral” in a conflict where there is a clear aggressor, but that even that was possible, “I don’t believe China is acting in a way that is neutral.”

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The Biden administration had hoped that China, with its long history of opposing what it sees as interference in its own internal affairs, would take a similar stance with Russia and Ukraine. But it didn’t, opting instead for what US officials see as a hybrid position that damages the international rules-based order.

Blinken said any nation, including China, stands to lose if that order is undermined.

The two men met a day after they both attended a meeting of senior diplomats from the Group of 20 rich and major developing countries that ended without a common call to end Russia’s war in Ukraine or a plan to deal with its effects on food and energy security.

But Blinken said he believed Russia came out of the G20 meeting isolated and alone, as most participants expressed opposition to the war in Ukraine. However, the ministers failed to reach a unified G-20 call for an end to the conflict.

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“There was a strong consensus and Russia was left isolated,” Blinken said of the individual condemnations of Russia’s actions by various ministers, some of whom avoided talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

He noted that Lavrov had left the meeting early, possibly because he did not like what he was hearing from his colleagues.

“It was very important that he hear loud and clear from around the world the condemnation of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said, adding: “We don’t see any signs that Russia is ready to engage in diplomacy right now.”

On China, Blinken said he and Wang discussed a range of contentious issues from tariffs and trade and human rights to Taiwan and disputes in the South China Sea, which have been complicated by China’s stance on Ukraine.

Just two days earlier, the two countries’ top militaries faced off against Taiwan in a virtual meeting. Blinken said the self-governing island, which Beijing claims as its territory, was just one of a series of problematic issues.

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He said he underscored US concerns about China’s “increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity near Taiwan and the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” He added that he had also raised human rights concerns regarding minorities in Tibet and the western Xinjiang region.

Going into the talks, Wang said “the two sides need to maintain normal exchanges” and “work together to ensure that this relationship continues to move forward on the right track.”

Wang also reiterated China’s frequent lines to remain committed to the principles of “mutual respect”, “peaceful coexistence” and “win-win cooperation”. This, he said, ‚Äúserves the interests of both countries and two peoples. This is also the shared aspiration of the international community.

U.S. officials previously said they did not expect a breakthrough from Blinken’s talks with Wang. But they said they hoped the talk could help keep the lines of communication open and create “railings” to guide the world’s two largest economies as they tackle increasingly complex and potentially explosive issues.

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“We are committed to managing this relationship, this competition responsibly, as the world expects us to,” Blinken said.

The United States and China have taken increasingly confrontational positions, including over Ukraine, which some fear could lead to miscalculation and conflict. The US watched warily as China refused to criticize the Russian invasion, while condemning Western sanctions against Russia and accusing the US and NATO of provoking the conflict.

“We are concerned about China’s alliance with Russia,” Blinken said, adding that he did not accept China’s protests that it was neutral in the Ukrainian conflict. “I don’t believe China is acting in a neutral way.”

The Biden administration had hoped that China, with its long history of opposing what it sees as interference in its own internal affairs, would take a similar stance with Russia and Ukraine. But it didn’t, opting instead for what US officials see as a hybrid position that damages the international rules-based order.

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At the G20 meeting, Wang made an indirect reference to China’s global stability policy, saying that “putting one’s own security above the security of others and strengthening military blocs will only divide the international community and make oneself less secure “, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

On Thursday, Chairman of China’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Li Zuochen, chided his American counterpart, General Mark Milley, for Washington’s support for Taiwan.

Li demanded the US end military “collusion” with Taiwan, saying China has “no room for compromise” on issues affecting its “core interests”, which include self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing has threatened to annex by force if necessary.

“China demands that the US … stop reversing history, end the US-Taiwan military agreement and avoid influencing Sino-US relations and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Li said.

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At the same time, Li was also quoted in a Ministry of Defense press release as saying that China hopes to “continue to strengthen dialogue, address risks and promote cooperation, rather than deliberately creating confrontation, provoking incidents and becoming mutually exclusive’.

China regularly flies warplanes near Taiwan to advertise its threat of attack, and the island’s Defense Ministry said Chinese air force jets crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait separating the two countries on Friday morning.

The meeting between Li and Milli followed fiery comments by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at a regional security conference last month, which was also attended by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Wei accused the United States of trying to “steal” the support of Asia-Pacific countries to turn them against Beijing, saying Washington was seeking to advance its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism.”

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At the same meeting in Singapore, Austin said China was causing instability with its claims to Taiwan and its increased military activity in the area.

In May, Blinken drew China’s ire by calling the country “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order” for the United States with its claims to Taiwan and efforts to dominate the strategic South China Sea.

The US and its allies have responded with what they call “freedom of navigation” patrols in the South China Sea, prompting angry reactions from Beijing.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

The US tells China that its support for Russia is complicating relations

Source link The US tells China that its support for Russia is complicating relations

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