China-US meeting could slowly improve relations

A five-hour meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paved the way for a gradual improvement in relations, analysts told VOA on Monday, although immediate progress is not expected. expected.

Wang and Blinken met Saturday at the G-20 talks in Bali, Indonesia, their first face-to-face meeting since May, when Blinken first went public with President Joe Biden’s strategy to compete with China.

They exchanged views on a list of issues that have troubled the two superpowers over the past five years.

Blinken and Wang pressed on the main issues of disagreement, with Blinken lamenting that China had aligned itself with Russia during the war in Ukraine, and Wang telling the United States not to make a “crushing mistake” on Taiwan – a self-governing island and informal US ally that Beijing claims as its own.

These issues, along with trade, Chinese military activity in the disputed South China Sea and US perception of human rights issues in China, have kept ties frosty since former President Donald Trump’s tenure. .

“I think Blinken is sending a very clear signal that he’s not happy with China’s actions in the South China Seas, as well as in East Asia and Taiwan,” said Sean Su, an independent political analyst. in Taiwan. “All of this indicates that the United States continues

interest in the East Asian region, and (it) will not give the Sinosphere too much space to expand its power.”

The duo did not reach an agreement on Saturday, but the fact that they met could augur a possible warming of relations, believe some experts. The two governments are now planning a virtual meeting between their leaders as early as the end of July, VOA reported on Monday.

“I see no evidence that either side is making serious compromises or concessions, but dialogue is important,” said Timothy Heath, senior international defense researcher at the US-based Rand Corp. -United. “It is helpful to hear this message from the other side.”

Both sides hope to “defuse” the tension, Heath said, as they recognize each other’s role in improving their economies and the world. “Neither side is eager to fight,” he said.

A senior State Department official said simultaneous interpretation during Saturday’s meetings allowed for longer discussions, including a “fairly in-depth exchange, more specifically on areas where we disagree, including human rights and concerns about stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

The next decision could come from a third party, said Satu Limaye, vice president of the East-West Center in Hawaii.

“I’m watching to see if US domestic legislation to compete with China evolves (forward) and how key allies and partners assess ongoing high-level discussions between the US and China,” Limaye said. By itself, he said, “the Blinken-Yi visit did not change the dial on the troubled state of U.S.-China relations.”