China says imperative to stabilise Sino-US relations
China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Monday it is imperative to stabilise Sino-US relations after a series of “erroneous words and deeds” threw ties back into a deep freeze.
Qin, in a meeting in Beijing with US ambassador Nicholas Burns, stressed in particular that the US must correct its handling of the Taiwan issue and stop the hollowing out of the “one China” principle.
The relationship between the world's two biggest economies sank to a low last year when then speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi paid an official visit to democratically governed Taiwan, angering China, which claims the island as its territory.
In response, Beijing severed formal communications channels with the US including one between their militaries.
The tension between the two superpowers eased in November when US and Chinese leaders Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met at a G20 summit in Indonesia and pledged more frequent dialogue.
“A series of erroneous words and deeds by the US since then have undermined the hard-won positive momentum of Sino-US relations,” Qin told Burns, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The agenda of dialogue and co-operation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again encountered cold ice.”
Tensions flared in February when a Chinese high-altitude balloon appeared in US airspace and in response US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled a visit to Beijing.
Last week, Blinken appeared to offer hope of a visit, telling the Washington Post that it was important to re-establish regular lines of communication at all levels.
Also last week, US climate envoy John Kerry said China had invited him to visit “in the near term” for talks on averting a global climate crisis, further raising hope of resetting one of the world's most important state-to-state relationships.
“The top priority is to stabilise Sino-US relations, avoid a downward spiral and prevent any accidents between China and the US,” Qin said.
Taiwan remains the thorniest issue in Sino-US ties.
Last month, China staged war games around Taiwan after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.
Since 1979, the US-Taiwan relationship has been governed by the Taiwan Relations Act, which gives a legal basis to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but does not mandate that the US come to Taiwan's aid if attacked.
As a part of the 2023 budget, US Congress has authorised up to $1 billion worth of weapons aid for Taiwan using a type of authority that expedites security assistance and has helped to deliver arms to Ukraine.
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