China warns Blinken over deteriorating ties in talks

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China on Friday urged US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to address rising disagreements or risk a “downward spiral” between the two powers as talks opened in Beijing.

Blinken, paying his second visit to the rival country in less than a year, voiced hope for progress but said he would directly raise areas of difference, which are expected to include Russia, Taiwan and trade.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, receiving Blinken at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in the capital’s ancient gardens, said relations between the world’s two largest economies were “beginning to stabilise” after leaders Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met at a November summit.

“But at the same time, the negative factors in the relationship are still increasing and building,” Wang said.

“The relationship is facing all kinds of disruptions. China’s legitimate development rights have been unreasonably suppressed and our core interests are facing challenges,” he said.

“Should China and the United States keep in the right direction of moving forward with stability, or return to a downward spiral?

“This is a major question before our two countries and tests our sincerity and ability.”

Blinken’s aides previously said he would address a range of concerns including China’s support for Russia, which has rapidly rebuilt its military base two years into its invasion of Ukraine.

As he opened the meeting with Wang, Blinken said he would be “very clear, very direct”, but added: “I hope we make some progress on the issues our presidents agreed” on.

The two countries should be as “clear as possible about the areas where we have differences -- at the very least to avoid misunderstandings, to avoid miscalculations,” Blinken said.

“That really is a shared responsibility that we have not only for our own people, but for people around the world.”

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