US and China discuss bilateral rivalry
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Monday, addressing tensions between the countries and discussing the Ukraine conflict.
The top diplomats talked about “our efforts to responsibly manage the competition between our two countries” as well as “Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Blinken wrote on Twitter, adding that another item on the agenda was “support for Haiti,” which has been engulfed by gang violence, political turmoil and a humanitarian crisis.
According to a read-out of the call released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Yi emphasized that all parties to the Ukraine conflict “should exercise restraint, make calm decisions, and increase diplomatic efforts to avoid further escalation.”
“As long as there is a glimmer of hope, the door to negotiations cannot be closed,” the statement said.
Unlike Western countries, China has refused to condemn or sanction Russia since it launched its military campaign in Ukraine in late February, arguing that Western powers and Kiev had failed to address Russia’s “legitimate security concerns,” while blasting NATO for pushing tensions between Moscow and Kiev to “breaking point.”
The Chinese foreign minister also noted that “putting Sino-US relations back on track of stable development” suits the interests of both countries and the international community.
However, the ministry urged Washington to “stop its suppression of China and not to create new obstacles for relations between the two nations,” highlighting new export control measures imposed by the US on China, which “seriously violate free trade rules and seriously harms China's legitimate rights and interests”.
Relations between the two powers flared up in August, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi travelled to Taiwan in a show of support. Beijing viewed the visit as a violation of the ‘One China’ principle by Washington, calling it detrimental for Sino-US relations.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has repeatedly declared China to be Washington’s top competitor and foremost concern, with the Pentagon saying Beijing poses “the most comprehensive and serious challenge to US national security” in its new National Defense Strategy released earlier this month.