US and Chinese ambassadors are meeting in Beijing to discuss maritime issues including the South China Sea

Senior officials from the two countries met in Beijing on Friday to discuss the situation in disputed South China, ahead of a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden in San Francisco this month. and the East China Seas.

Mark Lambert, the department’s China coordinator and deputy assistant secretary for China and Taiwan, and Hong Liang, China’s director general for border and maritime affairs, held „substantial, constructive and candid” discussions, according to a brief US State Department statement. Maritime issues.

In diplomatic parlance, these words often indicate that talks have been heated and limited progress has been made. However, analysts have said that it is significant that both sides are talking due to the strain in relations over the last one year.

„These consultations are part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the US-China relationship,” the State Department said. „The US reiterated the need to resume military-to-military channels, including operators, to avoid miscommunication and miscalculations.”

Beijing, Manila dispute details latest South China Sea military clash

The water in question is one of the most controversial in the world.

Washington said on Friday it had raised Beijing’s „dangerous and illegal activities” in the South China Sea. Philippines A resupply mission at the second Thomas Shoal on 22 October and China’s insecure interception of a US aircraft on 24 October.

Chinese state media confirmed that the meeting had taken place, but did not provide details.

Rick Waters, who served as the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for China and Taiwan until late June and is now managing director of the Eurasia Group, said Thursday that the risk of one of these close calls spiraling out of control is serious.

„In fact, in some ways I’m not even worried about the risk of next year [US] election,” Waters said. “It was … this dramatic increase in unsafe military interceptions of U.S. and allied aircraft [China’s] Circumference. These are now happening at the rate of two to three per week.

When a U.S. EP-3 spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001, Waters, a 27-year senior State Department official stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said the probability of collisions was relatively low. „But if they do, it will be very difficult to manage the expansion ladder in this environment,” he said.

The South China Sea is the site of conflicting claims by China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Since December 2013, and accumulating between 2013 and 2015, China has created artificial islands totaling 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares) on seven atolls it occupies in the Spratly Islands of the Sea.

In the East China Sea, both China and Japan claim their standard 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone rights, but the East China Sea is only 360 nautical miles wide. China claims an exclusive zone that extends to the eastern tip of the Chinese continental shelf, which, however, goes deep into Japanese-claimed territory.

The Lambert-Hong discussion followed a flurry of high-level diplomacy, including climate talks and meetings between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan in Washington last week with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

„Both sides reiterated the importance of maintaining open communication channels,” Friday’s statement said.

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