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China’s foreign minister airs concerns in phone call with Blinken ahead of planned visit

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shared concerns on a phone call Wednesday ahead of a planned visit by the U.S. official to China meant to shore up relations.

The diplomats “discussed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the U.S.-(China) relationship to avoid miscalculation and conflict,” according to a readout of the call from the U.S. State Department.

It added that Blinken “addressed a range of bilateral and global issues, and made clear the U.S. would continue to use diplomatic engagements to raise areas of concern as well as areas of potential cooperation.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Qin urged the United States to respect “China’s core concerns,” such as the issue of Taiwan’s self-rule, “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop harming China’s sovereignty, security and development interests in the name of competition.”

Qin noted China-U.S. ties “have encountered new difficulties and challenges” since the beginning of the year, and the two sides’ responsibility is to work together to properly manage differences, promote exchanges and cooperation and stabilize relations.

Blinken is reportedly planning a trip to China this week, after several weeks in which the two countries made diplomatic overtures to one another in an attempt to ease tensions. Blinken had scrapped a trip to Beijing in February after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over U.S. territory.

China has since largely rejected U.S. attempts at official exchanges, but some overtures were made. Last week, Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit China since the U.S. downed the balloon, angering Beijing.

In May, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Washington to discuss trade.

The U.S. and China are struggling to agree on a range of issues including security, trade, human rights and Beijing’s looming threat to one day take over Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory.

President Joe Biden has called for “guardrails” to prevent the countries’ competition from spiraling into conflict.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on the other hand has decried what he sees as the “comprehensive containment and suppression” of his country by the U.S., after Washington last year restricted China’s access to valuable technology such as microchips.

Washington has also warned Beijing of consequences if it arms Russia in its war against Ukraine. Beijing has pledged not to do so, though it refuses to condemn Russia’s invasion.

By Associated Press

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