Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
May 8, 2023
Almost everyone agrees that:
- US-China Relation has been on “ice cold,” and risking further downward spiral.
- “The top priority is to stabilize Sino-US relations, avoid a downward spiral, and prevent accidents between China and the United States.”
- Both the US and China should meet each other the half-way.
- It is going to take time and attention to stabilize the ice-cold US-China relation.
But there are fundamental challenges between the US and China:
- Lack broad based mutual understanding and basic trust.
- Deep suspicion of each nation’s intention and approach of development.
- Lack of political leadership and policy focus. For example, President Biden has not formally announced his “China policy,” yet US Congresses have established some Chinese focused committees advancing bills that deeply touch China’s core interests.
- The US administration should focus on coherent and specific messages toward China. The 2024 general election season has already started, and China will be a focus of many US candidates, many harsh anti-China positions will be publicly advocated. How Chinese should read US’s China policy?
Thus, re-establishing official contacts/dialogues is a necessity. But both the US and China should enhance and encourage exchanges at all levels especially young students. It is going to take time, but we have to sustain free exchanges between the US and China.
China’s New Foreign Minister Meets US Envoy for First Time
Mon, May 8, 2023 at 2:47 AM PDT
(Bloomberg) — Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met US Ambassador Nicholas Burns in the highest-level meeting in weeks between the world’s biggest economies, signaling that Beijing may soon allow more senior-level discussions after rebuffing requests from the Biden administration.
Qin asked the American envoy to serve as a “bridge” between their nations at a meeting on Monday in Beijing, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “The top priority is to stabilize Sino-US relations, avoid a downward spiral, and prevent accidents between China and the United States,” he said.
Qin blamed the US for the recent flare in tensions, saying “a series of erroneous words and deeds” had undermined the positive momentum achieved after Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden met in Bali last November. “It’s not possible to talk about communication on the one hand, but to keep suppressing and containing China on the other hand,” Qin said.
Burns on Twitter said the two men “discussed challenges in the US-China relationship and the necessity of stabilizing ties and expanding high-level communication.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the exchange a “normal diplomatic meeting” at a briefing in Beijing on Monday.
Chinese Foreign Minister meets US ambassador, urges US to reflect on US-China relations
Global Times: By Chen Qingqing Published: May 08, 2023 01:22 PM
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on Monday in Beijing, saying that the top priority now is to stabilize China-US relations and prevent unexpected accidents between the two major countries. He urged the US side to deeply reflect on bringing bilateral ties out of their current predicament.
Chinese experts considered that this high-level meeting – the first between Qin and the Burns since they took office – indicated that the level of official contact between the two countries is rising and the issue of a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries may have entered the discussion agenda.
But it also depends on how the Biden administration will react in correcting its erroneous deeds toward China, including strategic containment, high-tech decoupling and hurting China’s core interests by playing the Taiwan card.
China-US relations are of great significance not only to the two countries but also to the world. In November 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden. Since then, the agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again fallen into an ice-cold situation, Qin said.
When asked about the timing and signals of this meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday that it was a “normal diplomatic arrangement.”
“Qin’s meeting with Burns this time indicates that the level of diplomatic contact between the two countries has been raised, and it also implies that a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries may be entering the discussion agenda,” Lü Xiang, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
“Qin’s message is very clear: China does not reject dialogue, but the purpose of dialogue is to resolve differences, ease tensions, and improve relations, rather than simply talking for the sake of talking.”
In recent weeks, some senior US officials including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at re-engagement with China, and some called for healthy and constructive relations. However, the provocative visit of US arms dealers to Taiwan and reported planned arms sales have all deepened the differences between the two countries on issues involving major sovereignty and security concerns.
Qin told Burns that the US should correct its understanding of China and return to a rational way of thinking, and should not seek communication while continuing containment, and avoid “saying one thing but doing another.”
The US should respect China’s bottom-line and red line, stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and in particular, it must correctly handle the Taiwan question and stop hollowing out the one-China principle, stop supporting and conniving with “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, Qin said.
The US should handle unexpected incidents between the two countries in a calm, professional and pragmatic manner to avoid further impact on China-US relations. And it should advance the dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity and mutual benefit, Qin said.
He also expected that Burns will have more contacts, exchanges and reflections in China, so as to serve as a bridge between the two countries and make a constructive effort to improve ties.
‘Meet China halfway’: Foreign Minister Qin Gang and US envoy Nicholas Burns break ‘spy balloon’ diplomatic ice
Mon, May 8, 2023 at 2:30 AM PDT
In his first public meeting with a US official since the “spy balloon” saga, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said the top priority for the two countries is to prevent a “downward spiral” in US-China relations.
Qin told US ambassador to China Nicholas Burns in Beijing on Monday that China and the United States should maintain this bottom line and avoid further incidents.
“The top priority is to stabilise China-US relations, avoid a downward spiral, and prevent accidents between China and the United States. This should be the most basic consensus and a bottom line for countries to keep, especially two major countries,” he said.
After the meeting, Burns said in a tweet: “We discussed challenges in the US-China relationship and the necessity of stabilising ties and expanding high-level communication.”
Qin is the highest-ranking Chinese official known to have met a US representative since Washington accused Beijing of using a balloon to spy on the United States in February.
The saga prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a planned trip to China indefinitely, undermining the Biden-Xi pledge to have senior officials maintain communication on issues like climate change and global economy stability.
Now there are signs that this could be happening.
During his talks with Burns, Qin touched on Taiwan, warning the US not to cross China’s “red line” and to “correctly handle” the Taiwan issue.
Qin also urged Washington to stop its containment against China.
“[The US] cannot talk about communication on the one hand, and keep suppressing and containing China on the other,” he said, adding the US should correct its perception of China and return to rationality.
CNN: Beijing says relations with US on ‘cold ice,’ but stabilizing ties a ‘top priority’
China’s foreign minister said Monday a “series of erroneous words and deeds” by the United States had placed relations between the two superpowers on “cold ice,” but stabilizing ties is a “top priority.”
Qin Gang made the comments during a meeting in Beijing with US ambassador Nicholas Burns, their first since a dispute over a Chinese balloon shattered efforts to mend ties earlier this year.
Qin said US actions and words had undermined “hard-won positive momentum” following Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s meeting with US President Joe Biden in Indonesia last year.
“The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again hit the cold ice,” he said according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.
“The top priority now is to stabilize Sino-US relations, avoid a downward spiral and prevent any accidents between China and the US,” Qin told Burns, according to the Chinese readout. “This should be the most fundamental consensus between China and the US.”
Qin urged the US to “reflect deeply” and “meet China halfway” to push bilateral relations out of their current predicament.
“[The US] can’t talk about communication on the one hand, but keep suppressing and containing China on the other hand,” he said, adding that Washington must respect China’s bottom lines and stop undermining its sovereignty, security and development interests – in particular on the issue of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy Beijing claims as its own.
Reiterating Beijing’s talking points, Qin urged the US to stop the hollowing out of the “one China” principle and end support for “Taiwan independent” forces.
Under Washington’s longstanding “one China” policy, the US acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized the Chinese Communist Party’s claim to the democratic island of more than 23 million. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington is also bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
It also followed Burns’ comments last week that the US is “ready to talk” to China.
“Our view is we need better channels between the two governments and deeper channels, and we are ready to talk,” Burns said at an event at the Stimson Center, which he attended virtually.
“We’ve never been shy of talking, and we hope the Chinese will meet us halfway on this,” he said.
Burns told the Stimson Center event that the US has been calling on China to open all of the channels suspended following Pelosi’s Taiwan trip. He reiterated Blinken’s visit to China would be rescheduled “when conditions are appropriate.”
UPDATE 4-China and U.S. see need to stabilize relations
Sun, May 7, 2023 at 9:57 PM PDT
BEIJING, May 8 (Reuters) – China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Monday it is imperative to stabilise Sino-U.S. relations after a series of “erroneous words and deeds” threw ties back into a deep freeze.
Qin, in a meeting in Beijing with U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns, stressed in particular that Washington must correct its handling of the Taiwan issue and stop the hollowing out of the “one China” principle, according to China’s foreign ministry.
Asked about Qin’s remarks, U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said Burns had “conveyed privately” that there had been no change in U.S. policy towards China and in particular its one-China policy, under which Washington officially recognizes Beijing diplomatically, not Taipei.
Patel told a regular briefing Burns had spoken about areas where the countries could cooperate, including climate change, global health and food security.
“We want to and intend to keep lines of communication open,” Patel said, while adding that Washington would “continue standing with our friends and allies across the Indo-Pacific to advance our shared prosperity and security and values.”
“We do not intend to change the status quo – that has not been the approach that the United States has attempted to take,” he said.
“The top priority is to stabilise Sino-U.S. relations, avoid a downward spiral and prevent any accidents between China and the United States,” Qin told Burns, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Qin said that “a series of erroneous words and deeds by the United States” since the Biden-Xi meeting had “undermined the hard-won positive momentum of Sino-U.S. relations.”
“The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again encountered cold ice.”
In a Twitter post Burns also spoke of the need to bring stability to the relationship.
“We discussed challenges in the U.S.-China relationship and the necessity of stabilising ties and expanding high-level communication,” he said.