China’s top diplomat in meeting with US official urges Washington not to support Taiwan independence

BEIJING –

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US national security adviser Jake Sullivan that Washington should honor a commitment not to support Taiwan independence during their high-level talks in the Thai capital, he said. on Saturday the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Wang said Taiwan’s recent elections did not change the fact that the island is part of China and that the biggest challenge in US-China relations is the issue of “Taiwan independence,” according to a ministry statement.

US President Joe Biden has said he does not support Taiwan independence, but US law requires a credible defense for Taiwan and for Washington to treat all threats to the island as matters of “grave concern”.

Wang also said that both sides should use the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year as an opportunity to reflect on past experiences and treat each other as equals, instead of adopting a condescending attitude.

Both sides should “be committed to mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation, building a right way for China and the United States to interact,” Wang was quoted as saying in the statement.

Wang and Sullivan met in Bangkok on Friday and Saturday, and both governments declared their discussions were “frank, substantive and constructive.” The two previously met in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta and in Vienna last year ahead of a high-profile meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in November.

During the November talks, both sides showed modest agreements to combat illegal fentanyl and restore military communications, preventing the relationship from deteriorating. But the meeting failed to resolve any of their main differences, many of which have international implications.

In a White House statement Saturday about the meeting, Sullivan stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

China claims the autonomous territory of Taiwan and in recent years has shown its displeasure over political activities in Taiwan by sending military planes and ships. Earlier on Saturday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China had sent more than 30 fighter jets and a group of navy ships toward the island over a 24-hour period, including 13 fighter jets that crossed the median line. of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial border that is considered a buffer zone between its territory and the mainland.

Taiwan has said six Chinese balloons flew over the island or passed through airspace just north of it, days after the self-ruled island elected Lai Ching-te as its new president. Lai’s Democratic Progressive Party campaigned largely on self-determination, social justice and rejecting threats from China.

In addition to cross-Strait issues, officials also discussed other topics, including Russia’s war against Ukraine, the Middle East, North Korea, the South China Sea and Myanmar, the White House said.

Sullivan stressed that although Washington and Beijing compete, both sides must “avoid drifting into conflict or confrontation,” he added.

Both sides agreed that the two presidents would maintain regular contacts, provide strategic guidance on bilateral relations and promote exchanges between the United States and China in different areas and levels, the Chinese ministry said. Both sides will launch a joint working group on anti-drug cooperation in the near future and will hold the first meeting of the China-US dialogue mechanism on artificial intelligence this spring, he added.

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