U.S. Secretary Blinken’s statement signals more engagement with China despite tensions


30th September 2023 – (Washington) The US Secretary of State has published a statement congratulating China on its National Day and pledging to strengthen cooperation on issues like climate, health and macroeconomics.

Antony Blinken’s message comes after a recent ramping up of senior-level exchanges between Washington and Beijing, as both sides seek to maintain engagement despite ongoing geopolitical tensions.

Blinken welcomed China’s collaboration on “shared challenges” and wished the Chinese people “peace, happiness and prosperity”.

His remarks follow visits to China by Blinken himself, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and climate envoy John Kerry over the summer.

Vice President Han Zheng also met Blinken in September on the sidelines of the UN, where the Secretary said maintaining high-level contact was important for “open communication”.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malta in September as well, touching on issues from Taiwan to Ukraine.

However, a hoped-for meeting between presidents Biden and Xi has not yet materialised since their last talks in November 2021. Reports indicate Beijing and Washington are laying groundwork for restored engagement at senior levels in the coming months.

Analysts say Blinken’s statement underscores the Biden administration’s view that cooperation, while managing disagreements, remains important amid great power tensions. More diplomacy will likely be needed to facilitate renewed engagement between Xi and Biden.