Top officials of China, US hold in-person talks, agree to keep communications channels open to ‘manage differences’.
China has urged the US for “joint efforts” to ensure the stability of the Asia-Pacific region as the two sides agreed to keep communication channels open to “manage differences.”
The call for joint efforts came at a meeting between Yang Jiechi, a top official of the Communist Party of China, and Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, in Luxembourg on Monday.
A readout from Beijing said Yang “emphasized that the United States should have positive interactions with China and make joint efforts for the prosperity, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region.”
The statement comes as Washington moves to cement its so-called Indo-Pacific policy to contain China’s expanding economic and military influence in the wider Asia-Pacific region, by forging new bilateral and multi-alliances including Quad, AUKUS, and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
A brief readout from the White House said the two sides discussed a “number of regional and global security issues, as well as key issues in US-China relations.”
Interestingly, both Beijing and Washington called the meeting a “candid, substantive, and productive discussion.”
“Mr. Sullivan underscored the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to manage competition between our two countries,” said the White House statement, similar to Beijing’s that said: “It is necessary and beneficial to keep communication channels unimpeded.”
The meeting of top Chinese and American officials follows statements made by defense chiefs of the two countries at the Shangri-La Dialogue last weekend in Singapore.
While US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused China of a “more coercive and aggressive” approach to its territorial claims, the Chinese defense minister vowed to “resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.”
– ‘No interference in our internal affairs’
Beijing said Yang stressed that China’s position on “safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity is unequivocal and firm.”
“China’s internal affairs brook no interference from other countries,” he said, referring to self-ruled Taiwan.
“Any attempt to obstruct or undermine China’s national reunification will be doomed to failure,” the Chinese diplomat told the US national security advisor.
“The Taiwan question concerns the political foundation of China-US relations, and if it is not handled properly, it will have a subversive impact,” Yang said, adding: “This risk not only exists, but will continue to rise as the United States attempts to ‘use the Taiwan question to contain China’ and the Taiwan authorities attempt to seek ‘Taiwan independence’ by soliciting US support.”
Yang regretted: “For some time now, the United States has insisted on stepping up all-round containment and repression against China.”
He warned Washington to “not have any miscalculation or illusion.”
“It must abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three joint communiques between China and the United States; it must prudently and properly handle questions related to Taiwan,” he added.
“Instead of solving the problems facing the United States, it has put China-US relations in a very difficult situation and greatly damaged bilateral exchanges and cooperation,” said Yang.
“This situation is not in the interests of China, the United States and the rest of the world,” he said, adding the bilateral relations with Washington “stand at an important crossroads.”
Yang said three principles of “mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping “are the right way for China and the United States to get along with each other.”
“China is ready to discuss ways and means to realize this vision with the United States,” he said, adding that Beijing “opposes the definition of China-US relations by competition.”
Yang, director of the CPC’s Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and Sullivan also had a phone call in May and had met in person last year in Switzerland.