Blinken's visit seeks to stabilize relations

2024-04-25 09:57:28China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to China is not anticipated to yield breakthroughs in bilateral relations, given Washington's unchanged strategy toward Beijing. However, experts note that such visits will play a role in maintaining stability between China and the United States.

"The visit to China can be seen as a follow-up on the consensus reached during the November summit in San Francisco, signaling the U.S.' desire for regular high-level visits to maintain the stability of bilateral ties," said Yang Nan, associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies.

"While these visits may not lead to substantial outcomes, establishing mutual understanding through such interactions can help prevent future misjudgments, which is a key objective."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced on Monday that Blinken will visit China from Wednesday to Friday at the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Blinken was expected to meet with senior Chinese officials in Shanghai and Beijing to discuss a range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including the crisis in the Middle East, the Ukraine crisis, cross-Strait issues, and the South China Sea, according to the U.S. State Department website.

Blinken's last visit to China was in June, a time marked by strained relations.

"In contrast to his previous visit, Blinken's current trip to China comes at a time of less strained ties. Since February, there has been a notable increase in high-level official interactions," said Sun Xihui, an associate research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"So Blinken's goal right now, I think, is to continue to move that relationship on the track with the momentum, not to do great new things, but try to maintain that momentum and try to maintain those lines and channels of communication and possibly deepen it," said Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-American Studies.

"I think they will touch upon things broadly, take the relationship forward and maintain lines of communication, try to set up a meeting, and then deal with all irritants, both in the bilateral relationship," he said.

Positive trend

Following the San Francisco summit, there has been a positive trend of stabilization in the bilateral relationship. However, while the U.S. has expressed a desire to improve communication and ties with China, it has also continued to suppress and smear China on many issues, displaying a clear duplicity, Yang said.

Sun pointed out that the U.S., despite maintaining frequent high-level interactions with China, has not undergone any substantive changes in its strategic positioning and policy toward China.

"Therefore, the main aim of the U.S. engaging with China is to apply pressure on China, with the hope that China will align its cooperation with the U.S. based on the U.S.' stance and values in both bilateral and regional hot spot issues. The Joe Biden administration's goal behind these moves is to score points in diplomacy, to garner greater support in the upcoming election," said Sun.

"The U.S. has recently been approaching its cooperation with China as if it were ordering from a menu. It focuses solely on its own demands without considering the concerns of the other party. This kind of cooperation is unsustainable. Many global issues, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and climate change, require sustained, deep, and long-term systematic cooperation," said Yang.

"China has always hoped for stability in Sino-U.S. relations, maintaining a positive momentum, which benefits not only the two nations but also the whole world. However, this momentum can't be maintained on China's efforts alone. The U.S. needs to avoid the duplicity of saying one thing and doing another," he said.

"During the San Francisco summit, the two leaders outlined a series of collaboration directions, which now need to be implemented at the working group level. The U.S. should essentially fulfill previous commitments, to rebuild mutual strategic trust between the two nations," Yang added.

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