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Top US and Chinese diplomats meet in Bali, discuss Ukraine and mutual relations

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday, July 9, he had discussed Russian aggression in Ukraine with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The meeting took place one day after they attended a gathering of G20 foreign ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali.

According to Mr Blinken during the talks that lasted more than five hours, he raised US concerns over Beijing’s alignment with Moscow. Both he and Mr Wang described their first in-person discussions since October as “candid”.

“I shared again with the state councillor that we are concerned about the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] alignment with Russia,” Blinken told the press at a news conference after the talks. He said that Beijing’s support for Russia in the United Nations and what he described as “amplifying Russian propaganda” showed that China was behaving in a neutral way.

Mr Blinken also reminded that Chinese President Xi Jinping had made it clear in a call with Vladimir Putin on June 13 that he stood by the decision to form a “no limits” partnership with Russia, which was announced shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In spite of these declarations, however, China did not make attempts to circumvent the tough US-led sanctions on Russia or provide it with military equipment. US officials warned that should China offer material support for Russia in the war it would face consequences, including sanctions.

Before the talks, US officials said that the meeting was aimed at keeping the difficult US-China relationship stable and preventing it from veering into conflict. Secretary Blinken said that “Moving forward, the United States wants our channels of communication with Beijing to continue to remain open.”

As for his refusal to talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the G20, Blinken said: “The problem is this: we see no signs whatsoever that Russia, at this moment in time, is prepared to engage in meaningful diplomacy.”

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs released a statement according to which the two diplomats exchanged in-depth views on “the Ukraine issue”, but did not provide further details. As for the relationships between Washington and Beijing, Mr Wang also reportedly told Secretary Blinken that it was in danger of being led “astray” due to the United States’ suffering from “Sinophobia”. The top Chinese diplomat called for a speedy end to additional tariffs imposed on China as soon as possible, as well as unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies.


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