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World Needs Stable US-China Ties, Says Xi

MANILA, Philippines — “China respects US interests and does not seek to challenge or displace the United States. In the same vein, the United States needs to respect China and must not hurt China’s legitimate rights and interests.”

This was how the Chinese Embassy in Manila summed up Beijing’s position, quoting Chinese President Xi Jinping, as conveyed during Xi’s June 19 meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said Xi reiterated during the meeting that “the world needs a generally stable China-US relationship” and “does not want conflict or confrontation between China and the United States.”

Xi and Blinken held 11 hours of talks in Beijing, with President Joe Biden saluting Blinken’s trip to China as a sign of progress following months of soaring tensions.

But the trip achieved only general promises and no breakthroughs on hoped-for military talks and flashpoint issues.

‘Point of instability’

“It was clear coming in that the relationship was at a point of instability, and both sides recognized the need to work to stabilize it,” Blinken told reporters in Beijing.

US officials have repeatedly spoken of expanding communication to establish “guardrails” in the relationship to prevent misunderstandings from descending into conflict.

But Blinken acknowledged that the United States did not achieve one of its wishes most crucial to avoiding miscalculations—a resumption of dialogue between the two militaries.

And the two powers remained far apart on Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy that Beijing has not ruled out seizing by force. According to Huang, Blinken conveyed Biden’s commitment to the agreements made when the US President met with Xi in Bali, Indonesia, in 2022.

“The United States stands by the commitments made by President Biden, namely the United States does not seek a new Cold War, it does not seek to change China’s system, its alliances are not directed at China, it does not support ‘Taiwan independence,’ and it does not seek conflict with China,” Huang said, quoting the top American diplomat.

Still, in an online press briefing on the Xi-Biden meeting, US State Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink said Washington would stand for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and that maritime claims in the strategic, resource-rich waters should be “rooted in international law.”

“We have made clear that we will stand up to, and we will counter a range of concern that we have with Chinese activities, including in the South China Sea and including those directed at some of our key partners and allies such as the Philippines,” Kritenbrink said.

Also on Tuesday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros pressed the Department of Foreign Affairs to notify the United Nations General Assembly about the unabated “bullying” of Filipino fishermen by the Chinese Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea, a diplomatic action sought by her Senate Resolution No. 659.

“We need (the DFA to make a stand) because (China’s) harassment of our Navy continues and it continues to show hostile behavior and puts pressure on our country’s fishing industry, rejecting basic tenets of international law,” she said.