US and China hold unannounced high-level talks

Lazy eyes listen


On Wednesday and Thursday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Wang Yi, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party’s Foreign Affairs Committee, in Vienna.

The White House hailed the sessions as “candid, substantive, and constructive discussions” on matters ranging from the Russia-Ukraine crisis to tensions in the Taiwan Strait in a terse statement.

According to AP, Sullivan told Wang that Washington is “looking to move beyond” the dispute generated by the Chinese high-altitude balloon observed over US territory last winter. The United States alleged the balloon was being used for surveillance and sent a fighter jet to shoot it down in early February. According to Beijing, the airship had gone off course while monitoring the weather.

According to the Associated Press, both parties agreed last week that the balloon incident was “unfortunate” and that they wanted to “reestablish standard, normal channels of communications.”

According to Bloomberg, the White House has increased its efforts to schedule more meetings and phone calls with Chinese officials at all levels. They apparently wanted a phone chat between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The presidents last met in November on the margins of the G20 conference in Indonesia.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing are currently focused on Taiwan and the wider Asia-Pacific region, where both sides have accused each other of escalatory maneuvers.

“The US cannot continue to raise the issue of communication while suppressing and containing China,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to a reporter’s query about bilateral ties on Thursday. He encouraged the United States to “form the correct perception” of Beijing and to “respect China’s red lines.”

After Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, visited the United States last month, Beijing launched military maneuvers near the island. Beijing believes the island to be part of its territory and is outraged by Taipei’s ties with foreign officials. Washington has not formally recognized Taiwan as an independent state, but it has sold weaponry to the administration and committed to defend the island in the event of a Chinese mainland attack.