.
.
.
.

US security adviser Sullivan raises concerns over China’s actions in Zurich meeting

With relations sinking to their lowest level in decades, Sullivan raised issues including human rights, China’s actions in the South China Sea, and Beijing’s stances on Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang, the White House said.

Published: Updated:

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised concerns about Beijing’s actions in a meeting with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Switzerland on Wednesday, talks intended to improve communication despite a deepening rivalry between the two countries.

The closed-door meeting at an airport hotel in the Swiss city of Zurich was Sullivan’s first face-to-face meeting with Yang since their acrimonious exchanges in Alaska in March, which also involved US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“Sullivan made clear that while we will continue to invest in our own national strength and work closely with our allies and partners, we will also continue to engage with the PRC (People’s Republic of China) at a senior level to ensure responsible competition,” the White House said in a statement following the talks.

With relations sinking to their lowest level in decades, Sullivan raised issues including human rights, China’s actions in the South China Sea, and Beijing’s stances on Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang, the White House said.

The meeting followed up on President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 call with Chinese President Xi Jinping as the United States continues to “seek to responsibly manage the competition” with China, the White House said.

In that call, which ended a nearly seven-month gap in direct communication between the leaders, the two discussed the need to ensure that their competition does not veer into conflict.

In a brief statement earlier on Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry said Yang and Sullivan would “exchange views on China-US relations and relevant issues” in Zurich.

Taiwan has reported 148 Chinese air force planes in the southern and southwestern part of its air defense zone over a four-day period beginning on Friday, the same day China marked a patriotic holiday, National Day.

The United States has urged China to stop its “provocative” military activities near Taiwan.

Biden said on Tuesday that he spoke to Xi about Taiwan, and they agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement,” as tensions ratchet up between Taipei and Beijing.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, which had sought clarification from the United States about Biden’s comments, said on Wednesday that Washington had reassured them that its approach to the island had not changed, and that its commitment to the democratically governed island claimed by Beijing was “rock solid.”

Biden appeared to be referring to Washington’s long-standing policy under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, and the Taiwan Relations Act, which makes clear that the US decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing instead of Taiwan rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.

The White House said Sullivan will also visit Brussels for meetings with NATO and European Union officials, as well as Paris, and will brief the Europeans on his meeting with Yang.

With trade tensions also at the top of the US-China agenda, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in Paris for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development meetings, has said she hopes to hold discussions soon with Chinese counterparts.

On Monday, Tai unveiled the results of a months-long “top-to-bottom” review of China trade policy, pledging to hold “frank” talks with Beijing about its failure to keep promises made in former President Donald Trump’s trade deal and end harmful industrial policies.

Read more: New US-China trade plan by Biden official Tai leaves industry hungry for specifics