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Washington supports “open lines of communication” with Beijing

US-China foreign ministers discuss the need to “responsibly manage” relations amid tensions over Taiwan.

Washington, D.C. – The United States’ top diplomat has told his Chinese counterpart that the two countries must keep channels of communication open, the US State Department says, as global competition and tensions between Washington and Beijing linger.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

“The Minister discussed the need to maintain open lines of communication and accountable governance of the US-PRC [People’s Republic of China] relationship, especially in times of tension,” the State Department said in a sample of the talks.

The meeting came just days after US President Joe Biden angered Beijing by repeating that American forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

China, which claims self-governing Taiwan as its own territory, said earlier this week that it “deeply regrets and rejects” Biden’s remarks.

On Friday, the State Department said Blinken had emphasized Washington’s commitment to “maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” in line with the One China Policy, under which the US recognizes only the Chinese government.

Although the US does not recognize Taiwan’s independence, it maintains trade and security ties with the island.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing reached new heights last month after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a senior Democrat, visited Taiwan to defy China’s claim to the island.

In a remark to the UNGA on Wednesday, Biden said the US opposes “unilateral changes to the status quo” in Taiwan on both sides. He also stressed that Washington does not want a confrontation with Beijing.

“Let me speak directly about competition between the United States and China as we deal with shifting geopolitical trends: The United States will behave as a sensible leader,” Biden said.

“We are not looking for conflict. We are not aiming for a cold war. We are not asking any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner.”

For his part, Blinken “emphasized on Friday that maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is vital to regional and global security and prosperity,” the State Department said in the statement describing its meeting with Wang.

The US Secretary of State also renewed warnings about China backing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the statement added.

Earlier Friday, China’s state news agency Xinhua quoted Wang as calling for “win-win cooperation” between Washington and Beijing based on “equality and respect.”

Wang also warned that the Taiwan issue would likely have “disruptive effects on bilateral relations if handled improperly,” according to Xinhua.

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