US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken blasted Beijing for its support for Russia after walking out of more than five hours of talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Bloomberg reports.
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During a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ summit in Bali, Indonesia, Blinken said today that he told Wang that China is not neutral in the Ukraine war because there is no neutrality when there is a clear aggressor.
He cited Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent phone call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin as evidence of Beijing’s continued support for Moscow.
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The talks were extremely frank and neither side held back, but they had a professional tone despite the candor, according to a senior State Department official, who asked not to be identified discussing the closed-door talks.
Blinken told Wang that the U.S. views the relationship with China as largely competitive and outlined what that competition means — and does not mean — from the American perspective, the official said. Wang shared his thoughts on Blinken’s speech in late May, which laid out the Biden administration’s China policy, according to the US report.
China said the talks were constructive and could help avoid “miscalculations”, adding that US-China relations have not “overcome the difficulties” caused by former President Donald Trump’s administration.
The statement from the Chinese embassy in Washington also warned the US against supporting Taiwan independence, advised the US not to form “exclusive groups” against China, and said Washington should not interfere in China’s internal affairs, including Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Blinken said the G-20 countries urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who attended the meeting, to lift the grain embargo on Ukraine to ease food shortages around the world.
Blinken said he also conveyed to Wang that now is the time for China to call on Russia to end its blockade of Ukrainian ports and allow ships to export grain.
“Now what you’re hearing from Beijing is that it’s claiming to be neutral,” Blinken said. “I would start by suggesting that it is very difficult to be neutral when it comes to this aggression. There is a clear aggressor. There is a clear victim.”
China’s support for Russia was evident at the UN and in the amplification of Russian propaganda by Chinese state media, Blinken said. He referred to Xi’s decision to announce “no-limits” cooperation with Putin “while Russia was massing its forces.”
Blinken also said he and Wang “engaged in areas of disagreement and ways to manage and reduce risks,” bringing up controversial issues such as tensions across the Taiwan Strait, Hong Kong democracy and allegations of forced labor in China. Xinjiang.
“The United States wants our channels of communication with Beijing to continue to remain open,” Blinken said.
He disputed the idea that Wang’s two-week trip to the region suggests China is more committed to engaging with Southeast Asia.
“What we’re after is not asking countries to choose, but giving them a choice when it comes to things like infrastructure investment,” he said, adding that America wants to engage in a “race to the top.” not towards the bottom.