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Chinese foreign ministry official on US secretary of state's upcoming visit to China

Xinhua | April 24, 2024

On April 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China announced that at the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit China from April 24 to 26. On April 22, a senior official from the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry briefed the media on the visit.

The official noted that Secretary Blinken's visit is part of the efforts by China and the United States to implement the common understandings reached by the two presidents at their meeting in San Francisco, maintain dialogue, manage differences, advance cooperation and strengthen coordination on international affairs. The two sides have been in communication regarding the visit. In the phone call between the two presidents on April 2, President Joe Biden told President Xi Jinping that the United States will send Secretary Blinken to visit China. The Chinese side welcomed the visit.

The official said last November, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden held a historic meeting in San Francisco. They reached a series of important common understandings and deliverables, and established a future-oriented San Francisco vision. At the start of the year, President Xi exchanged congratulatory letters with President Biden on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. On March 27, President Xi met with representatives of the U.S. business, strategic and academic communities. On April 2, President Xi spoke with President Biden on the phone at the request of the latter. Under the strategic guidance of the two presidents, China-U.S. relations started to stabilize. On the other hand, there are still significant negative factors in the bilateral relationship. The United States continues pushing forward the strategy of containing China, keeps adopting erroneous words and actions that interfere in China's internal affairs, smear China's image and undermine China's interests. China resolutely opposes such moves and has taken strong countermeasures.

The official said the Chinese side always views and handles its relations with the United States in accordance with the three fundamental principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. Regarding China-U.S. relations in 2024, the Chinese side will follow three overarching principles: peace must be valued, stability must be prioritized, and credibility must be upheld.

For the visit by Secretary Blinken, the official said the Chinese side will focus on five goals:

First, establishing the right perception. Perception is always the first button that must be put right. Whether China and the United States are rivals or partners is a fundamental issue, on which there must not be any catastrophic mistake. China always believes that major-country competition is not the prevailing trend of the current times, nor the solution to the problems facing China, the United States and the world. The two big countries of China and the United States should not cut off their ties or turn their back on each other, still less slide into conflict or confrontation. China-U.S. relations should be stabilized and strengthened, and continue moving forward in a stable, sound and sustainable way. At the same time, China has interests that must be safeguarded, principles that must be upheld, and red lines that must not be crossed. President Biden noted on many occasions that the United States does not seek a new Cold War, its objective is not to change China's system or curtail China's development, its alliances are not targeted against China, the United States does not support "Taiwan independence," and the United States does not seek conflict with China or "decoupling" from China. We urge the U.S. side to honor President Biden's above commitments with concrete actions, and work with the Chinese side to turn the San Francisco vision into reality, rather than continue to contain and suppress China in the name of competition. The diplomatic teams of the two sides will continue their discussions on the guiding principles of China-U.S. relations based on the seven-point common understandings already reached, i.e. both countries treating each other with respect and finding a way to live alongside each other peacefully, maintaining open lines of communication, preventing conflict, upholding the U.N. Charter, cooperating in areas of shared interests, and responsibly managing competitive aspects of the relationship.

Second, strengthening dialogue. Since the San Francisco summit, China and the United States have had a series of important engagements at different levels and in various fields. Senior officials in charge of foreign affairs and security, economy and finance, climate change, law enforcement, agriculture and culture have stayed in contact through visits, talks, phone calls, and working group meetings. Military-to-military communication was restored. The 20-plus consultation mechanisms established or restored after the San Francisco summit are brought to bear. China remains open to dialogue and communication. The U.S. side must realize that it cannot seek communication just for the sake of communication; it must not say one thing but do the opposite; and it should be under no illusion that it can deal with China from a so-called "position of strength." The so-called U.S. alliance system is a product of the Cold War, and reflects the outdated Cold War mentality and zero-sum game where one side thrives at the expense of others. The United States is obsessed with bringing its allies into small circles against China. The move runs counter to the trend of the times. It will find no support, and will lead nowhere.

Third, effectively managing disagreements. There have been and will continue to be disagreements between China and the United States. But disagreements should not be allowed to dominate China-U.S. relations, and the relationship should be put under whole-process management. In particular, the United States must not cross China's red lines on Taiwan, democracy and human rights, paths and systems, and the right to development. The Chinese side is determined to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, and will make clear its solemn positions and demands on various issues, such as Taiwan, economy and trade, science and technology, and the South China Sea.

The Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations. Taiwan is part of China. The Taiwan question is China's internal affair. Peace across the Taiwan Strait and "Taiwan independence" are as irreconcilable as fire and water. The biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is the "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them; China is not going to sit on its hands. The Chinese side firmly opposes the recent erroneous words and actions of the U.S. side on the Taiwan question, and urges the U.S. side to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, honor President Biden's commitments with concrete actions, oppose "Taiwan independence," stop arming Taiwan, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and support China's peaceful reunification.

The U.S. has been ramping up efforts to curtail China's economic, trade and technological development, with new measures being rolled out in such forms as export control, investment screening and unilateral sanctions. This gravely undermines the interests of China. Such moves are not de-risking but instead creating risks. The so-called "overcapacity" is misleading narrative hyped up by the U.S. side packaged in economic concepts. The real intention is to kneecap China's industrial development and put the U.S. in a more advantageous position in market competition. It's another example of outright economic coercion and bullying. The growth of China's exports of electric vehicles, lithium batteries and photovoltaic products over the past few years is a result of international division of labor and market demand, and is conducive to green development around the world. The Section 301 investigation launched by the previous administration against China and the tariffs levied as a result are ruled by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as in violation of WTO rules and are opposed by many WTO members. Initiating a new round of 301 investigation out of domestic political needs is piling one mistake on another. National security concerns of a country need to be fairly and reasonably defined with certain boundaries. China firmly opposes the move of the U.S. to politicize economic, trade and tech issues. China has made it clear to the U.S. side that to suppress China's technology sector is to curb China's high-quality development and deprive the Chinese people of their legitimate right to development. China will respond to it resolutely.

China firmly opposes U.S. attempts to meddle in the South China Sea and sow discord between China and ASEAN. China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters. China will continue to properly handle maritime issues with relevant parties through dialogue and consultation and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests must not be violated, and China's determination to safeguard its lawful rights remains unwavering. China and the U.S. have established consultation mechanisms on maritime affairs and Asia-Pacific affairs, through which dialogue can be carried out between the two sides. That said, the U.S. is not a party to the South China Sea issue. It should not interfere, still less stir up trouble.

Fourth, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation. Over the past months, the two sides have made some progress in the areas of counternarcotics, law enforcement, science and technology, artificial intelligence, agriculture, health, and climate change. There are now more direct flights linking the two countries, close exchanges between business communities and between provinces and states, active engagements between young Chinese and Americans and frequent cultural and sports interactions. Cooperation on giant panda conservation is well underway. This has demonstrated that China and the U.S. share extensive common interests and can both benefit from cooperation. It also proves that the hope of the China-U.S. relationship lies in the people, its foundation is in our societies, its future depends on the youth, and its vitality comes from exchanges at sub-national levels.

Fentanyl is not a problem of China, nor is it caused by China. That said, China has not stood idly by, but is willing to help the American people. Since the San Francisco meeting, the Chinese side has matched its words with actions. Progress has been made in counternarcotics cooperation, thanks to the tremendous efforts made by the Chinese side. The U.S. side should address China's concerns in a reciprocal manner.

Fifth, working together to fulfill responsibilities as major countries. As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and the U.S. shoulder special responsibilities for safeguarding international peace and security. On the Middle East, Ukraine, the Korean Peninsula and other hotspot issues, China has been playing a constructive role as a responsible major country. China expects the U.S. side to do the same.

The international community is profoundly dissatisfied and disappointed to see that the U.S. is the only country in the U.N. Security Council to have vetoed Palestine's bid for full U.N. membership. Palestine's full U.N. membership should not be premised upon Palestine-Israel negotiations. Rather, it is an important step toward the two-state solution by putting Palestine on equal terms in the negotiations. When it comes to complying with the international law and Security Council rules, the U.S. enjoys no exception or privilege, and should let go of the hegemonic mindset of superiority. The U.S. should join other U.N. member states in fulfilling due international responsibilities, supporting UNSC Resolution 2728, and pushing for an early full ceasefire in Gaza, so as to end the plight of the Palestinian people. China will raise clear requests with the U.S. side.

The Ukraine crisis is facing the potential risk of further deterioration and escalation. Efforts should be made to deescalate the situation and bring the conflict to an end through negotiation rather than on the battlefield. The purpose of political settlement is not to produce a winner, but to ensure that peace prevails. China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is China a party to it. It has all along held an objective and impartial position and worked actively to promote talks for peace and political settlement. China will continue to play a constructive role on this. It is important for the U.S. side to reflect on its due responsibilities in the Ukraine crisis, not add fuel to the fire or exploit the crisis for selfish gains. It should not smear the normal relations between China and Russia or instigate bloc confrontation, still less slander and scapegoat China. The U.S. side should also immediately stop arbitrary imposition of unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals. The Ukraine issue is not an issue between China and the United States. The U.S. side should not turn it into one.

When asked about China's views on the recent negative developments such as the trilateral U.S.-Japan-Philippines summit, the official said that the Chinese side has expressed serious concern over recent U.S. moves to advance its Indo-Pacific Strategy against China and its erroneous statements and actions in the neighboring areas of China. The deployment of the Mid-Range Capability missile system in the Philippines exacerbates tensions in the region and heightens the risk of misjudgment and miscalculation. The trilateral security partnership of AUKUS is focused on advancing nuclear submarine development in the region, substantially increasing the risk of proliferation and aggravating arms race. The Asia-Pacific is no one's backyard and should not be an arena for big power rivalry. China urges the U.S. side to respect the security concerns of other countries as well as efforts by regional countries to safeguard peace and stability, rise above the Cold-War mentality, stop inciting military tensions or bloc confrontation, and stop forging small circles aimed to contain China in China's neighborhood.

On the U.S. side's comment that it will raise concerns on human rights issues during the visit, the official noted that issues related to Xinjiang, Xizang, and Hong Kong are all China's internal affairs. They are not about the so-called "human rights issues." The United States should not use human rights as an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs. Human rights are not a monopoly of any country. The people of a country have the best say on its human rights. The United States should first face up to its own human rights problems. It is in no position to lecture others.

On the U.S. side's harassment, interrogation and even repatriation of Chinese students, an issue closely followed in China, the official said that the U.S. side keeps overstretching the concept of national security, and has arbitrarily canceled Chinese students' visas, forbidden their entry and forcibly repatriated them without any conclusive evidence, causing enormous harm to relevant students. The inspection rooms at some U.S. airports have become a nightmare for Chinese students. What the U.S. side is doing contravenes its statement about facilitating and supporting people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. China will continue to urge the U.S. side to stop poisoning the atmosphere in the two societies, stop obstructing friendly exchanges between the two peoples, rectify its wrong practices, conduct thorough investigations into relevant cases, and make things right for the victims. The Chinese government is committed to serving the interests of the people, and will continue to take measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights of Chinese citizens.