Wang Yi, Antony Blinken to meet on G20 sidelines, first for the two since last October

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the margins of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as agreed by the two sides, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday night.

According to spokesperson Zhao Lijian, the two diplomats will exchange views on current China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues.

Foreign ministers from the 20 biggest economies are expected to meet in Bali, Indonesia on Friday before a G20 leaders’ summit in November, which will also be held in the Southeast Asian country.

The Wang-Blinken meeting, the first for the two diplomats since last October, came after the Biden administration said they’re considering lifting tariffs on Chinese imports, which were imposed during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.

“There are a lot of different elements to this, especially since the previous administration imposed these tariffs in such a haphazard way, in a non-strategic way,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a Tuesday briefing.

“So, we are – we are – want to make sure that we have the right approach.”

Eyes on Ukraine

The Ukraine crisis is also expected to top the meeting’s agenda, as Moscow’s “special military operation” has stretched beyond four months.

“This will be another opportunity, I think, to have a candid exchange on that, and to convey our expectations about what we would expect China to do, and not to do, in the context of Ukraine,” Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.

Beijing has repeated its call for peace in the region, urging dialogue and peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and respond to the legitimate concerns of all parties. It, however, slammed the unilateral sanctions coming from the West as a tool to “preserve its hegemonic position.”

“Escalating sanctions are not helping to alleviate the situation but are creating new problems for a world in the midst of an epidemic,” spokesperson Zhao said in a regular press briefing in mid-April.

The relationship between Beijing and Washington has soured sharply since the Trump administration, after a series of tit-for-tat moves, including visa restrictions, the expulsion of diplomats and closure of consulates.

Kritenbrink said Blinken’s priority would be to “manage responsibly the intense competition” between the two countries and “prevent any miscalculation that could lead inadvertently to conflict and confrontation.”

China has rejected the use of “competition” to define its relationship with the U.S., calling for “mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” for the two countries as ways to reconnect. In last month’s five-hour meeting between senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Yang said he hopes the U.S. side could “correct its strategic perceptions of China,” and make the right choices.

  

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