US-China lock horns to show blinking red eyes

China's President Xi Jinping with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Beijing

Image credit X MFA China

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Blinken reads out red lines to China; Xi Jinping warns against containment policy

By Manish Anand

New Delhi April 27: China’s President Xi Jinping told the US Secretary of the State, Antony Blinken, that stabilising bilateral relations is the “first button of the shirt”. Blinken vowed that the US will protect its interests at all costs.

Blinken wrapped up his China visit on Friday. He met XI in a delegation level setting.

Blinken held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. In Shanghai, Blinken was given a dull welcome with a junior official receiving him. He met the top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader in Shanghai, Chen Jinning.

China’s ambassador in the US, Xie Feng, claimed that the two nations agreed on five-point consensus. They essentially meant that the two largest economies of the world will keep window of communication open through – military, cultural, trade, and diplomatic channels.

The bottomline of the Chinese message was that the US must not contain China. “The planet is big enough to accommodate the common development and respective prosperity of China and the US. China is happy to see a confident, open, prosperous and thriving US. We hope the US can also look at China’s development in a positive light,” Xi told Blinken.

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The tone and tenor of comments of China’s top leadership and Blinken suggested that they put all their concerns on the table. China reiterated its assertions that the US should back off from the South China Sea.

Blinken showed red flags to China on issues of human rights violations in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and also the detention of the US citizens in the Communist country. “He raised concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic institutions and the PRC’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as transnational repression and individual cases of concern,” the US State Department said in a press statement at the conclusion of the visit.

The risk to downward spiral in the US-China relations was also spelt out by both the sides. Beijing said that the US bid to stop the rise of China is the principal risk in the bilateral relations.

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Blinken reiterated his treasury counterpart Janet Yellen’s statement that the US sanctions may be on the ways if China doesn’t cease supporting the Russian war efforts against Ukraine. Also, China’s export of disinflation, the overcapacity, remains a red line for the US.

“He expressed concerns over destabilizing PRC (People’s Republic of China) actions at Second Thomas Shoal (with the Philippines), and the importance of upholding the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” added the US State Department in its statement.

But China gave hints of its doggedness, patiently listening to Blinken but holding own grounds. “As a Chinese saying goes, ‘No progress means regress’, it also applies to China-US relations,” the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

But Blinken underlined that if China does not take action to solve the problem, then it can be done in Washington. This was about the likelihoods of sanctions against China.

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