China lays out five major goals it expects to focus on for Blinken's China visit
Published: Apr 23, 2024 11:04 PM Updated: Apr 23, 2024 11:20 PM
China US Photo: IC

China US Photo: IC

Ahead of the upcoming visit of the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China, China's Foreign Ministry introduced five major goals that China is focusing on during this visit, which include making solemn representations and demands on matters such as the Taiwan question, trade and technology restrictions and the South China Sea issue.

Some Chinese experts said that the senior US diplomat is fully prepared before embarking on this trip by playing up aggressive rhetoric on issues such as the Ukraine crisis, pointing the finger at China's human rights situation and ramping up efforts in stirring up troubles in the South China Sea. In fact, China will not compromise on some core issues and will not expect some frictions between the two countries can be resolved with just one or two rounds of dialogues, while acknowledging the importance of keeping communication channels open to avoid conflicts. 

The five goals are establishing the right perception, strengthening dialogue, effectively managing differences, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and jointly shouldering responsibilities as major countries, according to the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit China from Wednesday to Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced on Monday. 

According to the US State Department, Blinken will meet with senior Chinese officials in Shanghai and Beijing to discuss a range of bilateral, regional and global issues. 

On the Ukraine crisis, Blinken is expected to "raise US concerns Beijing is helping Russia build up its defense industrial base to fight the war in Ukraine," as the US accused China of supplying Russia with everything from chips to cruise missile engines to help rebuild its industrial base, according to media reports. 

Just one day before Blinken's departure to China, the US official criticized China's policies on its Xinjiang region and its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the US' "lie-filled" 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Monday. 

Also, he will "ask Beijing to avoid provocative measures" during next month's inauguration of the regional leader-elect Lai Ching-te in China's Taiwan island. 

"We welcome US officials to come to China to enhance communication," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.   

"But it seems like Blinken is here to issue an ultimatum to China. We will not give in to him and will not compromise on our core issues," Li said. 

One of the five major goals of China for Blinken's visit is to effectively manage differences. In particular, the US must not provoke China's red lines on matters such as the Taiwan question, democracy and human rights, development path and system, and development rights, an official from the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Valuing peace, prioritizing stability, and basing actions on trust are the principles that China adheres to in managing China-US relations, the official said. 

Major focuses 

When introducing five major goals that China is focusing on during this visit, China's Foreign Ministry puts establishing the right perception as a priority. "The problem challenging current China-US relations is that China hopes to first have the right attitude before addressing problems, while the US wants to discuss the issues without first discussing the attitude," Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

The frictions between China and the US cannot be resolved with just one or two rounds of dialogue, Jin said. "China should warn the US that Washington's attempt to start conflicts with China on issues such as the Taiwan question, the South China Sea and trade is not right," he said. 

Therefore, China must act in its own national interests and not be influenced by the aggressive attitude of the US. For instance, China has always remained neutral during the Russia-Ukraine conflict and our normal economic and trade relations with Russia will not be affected, Jin said. 

China also voiced firm opposition on Tuesday to hypocritical moves by the US on the Ukraine crisis by enacting massive aid bills for Ukraine while making baseless accusations against normal trade between China and Russia.

In response to a question regarding a US media report which suggests that the US is drafting sanctions that threaten to cut some Chinese banks off from global financial systems, which US officials said will help stop China's commercial support of Russia's military production, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that China will resolutely defend its legitimate rights and interests. 

"China will not compromise on various core issues, including China-Russia relations and the Taiwan question," Li said. 

China and the US have already resumed channels of dialogue on topics the US aims to discuss during Blinken's trip, such as climate change and drug trafficking, as well as military communication channels. However, the US cannot use improved communication channels as the sole measure of improvement between the two sides, Li noted. "If the channels are smooth but the problems are not resolved, this is an unsolvable reality."

China's expectations 

Some experts said China is not holding high expectations for Blinken's visit. Yet even if Blinken aims to trade barbs with China this time, it is better to argue than to have a real conflict.

When asked about what is the best-case scenario result given the tensions in China-US relations, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang said Secretary Blinken's visit to China is part of the efforts of the two sides to deliver on the common understandings reached by the two presidents in San Francisco, maintain dialogue, manage differences, promote cooperation and enhance coordination in international affairs.

The most prominent feature of the current China-US relationship is that Washington continuously raises demands with Beijing but lacks sincerity in responding to many of China's reasonable requests, experts said. 

On trade and technology issues, the official from the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the US has intensified its measures to suppress China, constantly adopting new measures in export controls, investment reviews, and unilateral sanctions, seriously harming China's interests.

"This is not de-risking, but creating risks," the official said. The so-called 'Chinese overcapacity rhetoric' thrown out by the US seems like an economic concept, but it is actually a false narrative.

The Chinese official also stressed that the US' launch of a new 301 investigation out of domestic political considerations is a mistake repeated.

"China's decision-makers are very clear-headed. Our stance remains consistent, which is to strive for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. If there truly are problems in China-US relations, the responsibility lies entirely with the US," Jin said.