Top diplomats from US and China hold ‘constructive’ talks on issues dividing them

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, (left), and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands during their meeting at the Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany on Feb 16. (AP)

MUNICH, Feb 17, (AP): Top diplomats from the US and China on Friday held a “candid and constructive” discussion on issues vexing their strained relations over Taiwan, the situation in the South China Sea, Russia’s war against Ukraine and synthetic opioids, the State Department said.
The meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference marked the latest and highest-level meeting between the two sides since US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks late last year in California.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken emphasized the importance of maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait as well as expanding on nascent counternarcotics efforts. Blinken also raised concerns about China’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base that Washington sees as helping Moscow’s military operations against Ukraine.
“The two sides had a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in the relationship,” Miller said.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wang called on the US to remove sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals.
Wang emphasized that Washington’s policy of “de-risking” economically from Beijing “has become ‘de-Sinicizing,’ ‘building a tall fence’ and ‘de-coupling from China’” and “will come back to bite the US itself,” according to a Ministry readout Saturday morning.
He also called on the US to stop searches of Chinese nationals. Recently, Chinese state media published reports of Chinese citizens being searched at the US border.
In one prominent case, a group of students led by their professor, Xie Tao from Beijing Foreign Studies University, were interrogated for three hours upon arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to Xinhua. Xie is the dean of the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at the University.
Wang affirmed that cooperation to combat the spread of fentanyl was going “positively” and would continue, as well as the agreement to keep military-to-military communications.

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