US tells China its support for Russia complicates relations

NUSADUA, Indonesia –

China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine is complicating US-China relations at a time when they are already riddled with division and enmity over many other issues, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday. , to its Chinese counterpart.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the United States for the downturn in relations, saying US policy has been derailed by what he called a misperception of China as a threat.

“Many people believe that the United States suffers from China phobia,” he said, according to a Chinese statement. “If that expansion of threats is allowed to grow, US policy toward China will be a dead end.”

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

The talks were staged in a new effort to try to rein in or at least manage the rampant hostility that has come to define recent relations between Washington and Beijing.

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

The Chinese statement said the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on Ukraine, but did not provide details.

The Biden administration hoped that China, with its long history of opposition to what it sees as interference in its own internal affairs, would take a similar position with Russia and Ukraine. But she has not, choosing instead what US officials see as a hybrid position that is damaging the rules-based international order.

Blinken said all nations, including China, stand to lose if that order erodes.

The two men met a day after attending a meeting of senior diplomats from the Group of 20 large, rich developing countries that ended without a joint call to end Russia’s war in Ukraine or a plan on how to deal with their impacts on food and energy. security.

However, Blinken said he believed Russia had come out of the G-20 meeting isolated and alone, as most participants voiced opposition to the Ukraine war. However, the ministers were unable to reach a unified call from the G-20 to end the conflict.

“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 Sergey Lavrov.

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

“It was very important that I heard loud and clear from the whole world the condemnation of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said, adding: “We see no signs that Russia at this point is ready to engage in diplomacy.”

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

Wang called on the United States to remove tariffs on China’s imports as soon as possible, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and refrain from harming its interests in the name of human rights and democracy. He also accused the United States of using “slicing salami” tactics on Taiwan, an autonomous island that China claims as its territory and says should be under its control.

Just two days earlier, the countries’ top military officials had clashed over Taiwan during a virtual meeting. Blinken said he emphasized US concerns with China’s “increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity near Taiwan and the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” He added that he had also raised human rights concerns regarding minorities in Tibet and the western Xinjiang region.

Wang refuted some “erroneous views of the United States” on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the South China Sea, according to the Chinese statement.

U.S. officials had said in advance that they did not expect any progress from Blinken’s talks with Wang. But they said they were hopeful the talk could help keep lines of communication open and create “guardrails” to guide the two economies. largest in the world as they navigate increasingly complex and potentially explosive issues.

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

The United States and China have advanced increasingly conflicting positions, including on Ukraine, which some fear could lead to miscalculation and conflict. The United States has watched warily as China refuses to criticize the Russian invasion, while condemning Western sanctions against Russia and accusing the United States and NATO of provoking the conflict.

At the G-20 meeting, Wang made an oblique reference to China’s global stability policy, saying “placing one’s own security above others’ security and intensifying military blocs will only divide the international community and will become less safe,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

On Thursday, the chairman of China’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Li Zuocheng, rebuked his US counterpart, General Mark Milley, for Washington’s support for Taiwan.

Li demanded that the United States end military “collusion” with Taiwan, saying China “has no room for compromise” on issues affecting its “core interests.”

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

Wei accused the United States of trying to “hijack” the support of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to turn them against Beijing, saying Washington seeks to promote its own interests “under the guise of multilateralism.”

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


Associated Press reporter Ken Moritsugu in Beijing contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment