BEIJING, May 8 (Reuters) – China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Monday that it was necessary to stabilize Sino-U.S. ties after a series of „wrong words and actions” deeply strained ties.
In a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns in Beijing, Qin specifically urged the U.S. to correct its handling of the Taiwan issue and stop emptying the „one China” policy.
Relations between the world’s two largest economies hit a low point last year when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an official visit to democratically-ruled Taiwan, angering China, which claims the island as its territory.
In response, Beijing cut off all formal communication channels with the US, including one between its military.
„The top priority is to stabilize Sino-US relations, avoid a downward spiral and avoid any accidents between China and the US,” Burns said in a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Tensions between the two superpowers eased last November when US and Chinese Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met at the G20 summit in Indonesia and pledged to hold more frequent talks.
But tensions flared again in February when a Chinese high-altitude balloon appeared in US airspace. In response, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceled a trip to Beijing.
„The US’s repeated wrong words and actions since then have undermined the hard-won positive momentum of Sino-US relations,” Qin said.
„The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed upon by both sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again hit an ice cold.”
In a post on Twitter about his talks with Kin, Burns also spoke of the need to bring stability to the relationship.
„We discussed the challenges in the US-China relationship and the need to stabilize relations and expand high-level communication,” Burns said.
Last week, Blinken expressed optimism about the visit, telling the Washington Post that it was important to re-establish regular communications at all levels.
Last week, US climate envoy John Kerry said China had invited him to visit „nearby” for talks on averting a global climate crisis, further raising hopes of resetting one of the world’s most important state-to-state relations.
Taiwan remains a thorny issue in Sino-US relations.
Last month, China held military exercises around Taiwan after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.
Since 1979, U.S.-Taiwan relations have been governed by the Taiwan Relations Act, which provides a legal basis for providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but does not mandate that the United States come to Taiwan’s aid if attacked.
As part of the 2023 budget, the U.S. Congress authorized $1 billion worth of arms aid to Taiwan, using a type of authority that would expedite defense assistance and help provide arms to Ukraine.
Report from Beijing Newsroom; By Bernard Orr; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
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