NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met Chinese Vice President Han Zheng on Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly as the world’s two largest economies held a series of meetings to bolster their strained relationship.
White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for 12 hours in Malta last weekend, during what both sides described as „frank, substantive and constructive” talks.
The meeting between Blinken and Han is the latest in a series of high-level talks between US and Chinese officials that will lay the groundwork for a meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year.
„The world expects us to manage our relationship responsibly,” Blinken said in brief remarks at the start of the meeting with Hahn. „The United States is committed to doing that,” he added.
„From America’s perspective, face-to-face diplomacy is the best way to deal with areas where we disagree, and the best way to explore areas of cooperation between us,” Blinken said.
Blinken, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry visited China this year to sever ties between the two countries and ensure continued communication following the US military’s downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon. Traveled across America.
Biden expressed disappointment this month that Xi skipped a Group of 20 summit in India, but said he „will have to see him.” The next opportunity for Biden to hold talks with Xi is at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in November, where US aides have been hoping for months to hold such a meeting.
Neither Blinken nor Han explicitly indicated in their comments whether such a meeting would materialize.
„Currently, China-US relations are facing many difficulties and challenges,” Han told Blinken, adding that China hopes the US will make efforts to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and promote the steady development of relations.
„The world needs stable and healthy China-US relations,” Han said.
Report by Humeyra Pamuk and Michael Martina; Editing by Sandra Maler
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