WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malta for hours over the weekend, Beijing and Washington said on Sunday, as the world’s two largest economies seek to stabilize troubled relations.
The two sides held “candid, objective and constructive” talks during multiple meetings held from September 16 to 17, according to separate statements from the White House and the Chinese Foreign Ministry published on Sunday.
A senior Biden administration official said there were also “limited” early signs that severed military communications between the two sides could begin to be restored.
Chinese officials did not comment on the possibility of communication between the two armies.
Sullivan’s meeting with Wang was the latest in a series of high-level discussions between US and Chinese officials that could lay the groundwork for a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year.
These events come amid a series of unrest in the top ranks of the Chinese government, including the disappearance of Defense Minister Li Changfu, and fluctuations in the country’s economy that have sparked panic in foreign capitals.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters that the Malta talks extended about 12 hours over two days. Sullivan last met Wang in Vienna last May.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the two sides agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and conduct bilateral consultations on Asia-Pacific affairs, maritime affairs and foreign policy.
The United States has told China that it is ready to work together in the fight against drugs, artificial intelligence and climate change even as it expressed concerns about unspecified Chinese support for Russia and Beijing, which recently sent fighter jets through the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait and the United States. The official said.
Wang warned the United States that the Taiwan issue is “the first insurmountable red line in China-US relations,” according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. China claims the autonomous island as its territory.
Wang also said that China’s development has “strong internal momentum” and “cannot be stopped,” and that “the Chinese people’s legitimate right to development cannot be denied.”
The United States said it seeks healthy competition with China based on fair rules that benefit both countries, but China said that despite calling for competition, the United States remained engaged in suppressing and containing its growth.
The US official said “there have been some small or limited indications” that Beijing is prepared to reopen some of the military contacts used to calm the conflict between the two countries after those relations were severed following the former US president’s visit in August 2022. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan angered China. .
In its statement, the White House strongly suggested further meetings between the United States and China, adding that the two sides are “committed to maintaining this strategic channel of communication and seeking greater high-level engagement and consultations in key areas…in the coming months.”
Biden this month expressed disappointment that Xi missed the G20 summit in India, but said he “will be able to see him.” The next potential opportunity for Biden to hold talks with Xi is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in November, where US aides have been hoping for months to organize such a meeting.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry traveled to China this year to improve relations and ensure continued communication between the two countries amid tensions that erupted after the US military shot down an American passenger plane. Chinese observation balloon that traveled over the United States.
Biden and Xi last met in 2022 on the sidelines of the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington, Andrea Shalal in Wilmington, Delaware, and Lori Chen and Liz Li in Beijing – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Writing by Andrea Shalal, Jason Lange and Trevor Hunnicutt. Edited by Scott Malone, Will Dunham, Susan Fenton, Sandra Maler and Michael Perry
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