Blinken heads to China on a visit aimed at avoiding “miscalculations”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Saturday, To China on a visit He said that it aims to avoid “miscalculations” with Beijing, in parallel with seeking spaces of understanding.

Blinken told reporters before leaving Washington for China that The purpose of the visit To “open direct lines of communication so that our two countries can manage our relationship in a responsible manner by addressing some challenges and bad visions, and avoiding miscalculations.”

Blinken left Washington on Friday evening for Beijing to begin an official visit Sunday and Monday to hold a series of meetings with Chinese officials.

He made it clear that he also intends to “highlight the interests and values ​​of the United States (…) and express our concerns about a number of issues in a direct and frank manner.”

And he stated that the goal was also to “explore the possibility of cooperation” with Beijing to deal with global challenges such as climate change and the fight against synthetic drugs.

Blinken considered that “an intense competition requires intense diplomacy in order to ensure that it does not turn into a confrontation or a conflict,” stressing that “the world is waiting for cooperation between the United States and China.”

In response to a question, he confirmed that he would discuss with the Chinese authorities the issue of arresting US citizens in China.

Blinken is the highest ranking US official to visit China since 2018. His visit was originally scheduled for last February, but was canceled after a Chinese balloon flew over US territory.

For his part, his Singaporean counterpart described the Sino-US relations as the “challenge of the century.” “The rest of the world will be watching. We hope, and I believe, that you will be able to manage your differences,” he said.

There are many points of contention between the two powers, which are engaged in fierce competition, from the issue of Taiwan, through Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, to the battle of electronic chips.

On Thursday, a company belonging to the Google network held a group of cyber attackers that it said were clearly linked to the Chinese state, responsible for a wide campaign of information espionage targeting government agencies in several countries that represent Beijing’s strategic interest.

Blinken’s visit to China follows a meeting last November between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.

For his part, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on the United States on Friday to work to improve relations between the two countries, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

“The United States sees China as its main competitor… and this is a strategic miscalculation,” he said.

He also considered that the American demands should not contradict China’s legitimate right to develop. “It is not responsible competition but irresponsible harassment,” he said, which will only push the two countries “toward confrontation.”

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