China’s top diplomat Wang Yi meets Blinken, Lavrov on ASEAN sidelines

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Top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi held bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Russia and the United States on Thursday on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian-led summit in Indonesia.

Wang is representing China at this week’s summits hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and attended by envoys from its major partners including the United States, Russia, Australia, Japan and India.

In the latest in a series of interactions between the rival superpowers, Wang shook hands with Blinken before entering a meeting room in a hotel in central Jakarta, where the two were seen seated across from each other.

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They did not speak to the press at the start of their meeting, which comes less than a month after Blinken’s visit to Beijing when China and the United States agreed to stabilize their rivalry so it does not veer into conflict, but failed to produce any major breakthrough.

The two sides at the time appeared entrenched in their positions over everything from Taiwan to trade, including US actions toward China’s chip industry, human rights and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

But analysts see the recent meetings as part of efforts to clear the way for a summit between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping later in the year.

Wang also met separately with Russia’s Sergey Lavrov.

“The two sides should follow the important consensus reached by the heads of state, maintain high-level exchanges, and strengthen strategic communication and coordination,” the Chinese foreign ministry said on the meeting with Russia, quoting Wang.

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