Top-level diplomats from China, US to meet in Alaska


Top-level diplomats from China, US to meet in Alaska

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-03-11 14:24

File photo shows the national flags of China (right) and the United States on the Constitution Avenue in Washington, capital of the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

Senior Biden administration officials will meet with their Chinese counterparts in person next Thursday in Alaska, the first high-level diplomatic meeting to be held a month after top leaders of the two countries talked by phone.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will meet on March 18 in Anchorage, Alaska, with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss "a range of issues" with China, the White House said Wednesday.

Yang is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Blinken said on Wednesday that he would stop off in Alaska from a trip to Tokyo and Seoul. He would join Sullivan to meet the Chinese diplomats.

The announcement of the meeting came exactly a month after what US media reports called "an unusually long, two-hour call" between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

During that phone call, Xi said that the foreign affairs departments of the two countries may have in-depth communications on wide-ranging matters in the bilateral relationship and major international and regional issues.

Blinken, who talked with Yang on Feb 6 by phone, said Wednesday that the meeting would be "an important opportunity for us to lay out in very frank terms the many concerns" with Beijing.

"We'll also explore whether there are avenues for cooperation. And we'll talk about the competition that we have with China to make sure that the United States has a level playing field, and that our companies and workers benefit from that," Blinken said in his first appearance before Congress since being confirmed as America's top diplomat.

The timing of the meeting "at a mutually convenient but US territory-based site" shows the "seriousness about substance with China", according to Douglas H. Paal, senior researcher of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"There might be a small substantive surprise," Paal said, adding that the basic result could be a mutual airing of concerns and red lines.

China-US relations plunged to the lowest point during the previous administration since the two countries forged diplomatic relations in 1979.

With the onset of the Biden administration, expectations have been running high among diplomatic, business and academic communities for a reset of the world's "most consequential bilateral relationship".

Foreign Minister Wang said last week that China is ready to work with the US to follow through on the outcomes of the first presidential phone call and set China-US relations on a new path of "healthy and steady growth".

"We hope that the US will move in the same direction and remove all of its unreasonable restrictions on bilateral cooperation as early as possible and stop creating new obstacles," Wang said at a news conference Sunday in Beijing on the sidelines of the annual national legislative session.

On Tuesday, a survey released by the American Chamber of Commerce shows that US businesses in China are profoundly positive about doing business in 2021 and expect ties between Beijing and Washington to improve.

The survey found 81 percent of the 345 respondents see their industries in China growing in 2021, while 45 percent see relations with the United States improving, up by 15 percentage points from last year.

Last week, Chinese medical experts and their American colleagues held a virtual forum where they all underscored the need for the two countries to cooperate in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, said at the forum that the two countries have a long history of "constructive and productive collaboration" to combat diseases from SARS in 2003 to Ebola in 2015, and they need to join forces again for the world to emerge stronger from the pandemic.

拜登政府高级官员将于下周四在阿拉斯加亲自会见中国官员,这是两国最高领导人电话交谈一个月后举行的首次高级别外交会议。白宫周三表示,美国国务卿安东尼·布林肯(Antony Blinken)和国家安全顾问杰克·沙利文(Jake Sullivan)将于3月18日在阿拉斯加安克雷奇与中国最高外交官杨洁篪和国务委员兼外交部长王毅会面,与中国讨论“一系列问题”。杨,中共中央政治局委员,中共中央外事委员会办公室主任。布林肯周三表示,他将在东京和首尔旅行后在阿拉斯加停留。他将和沙利文一起会见中国外交官。美国媒体报道称,美国总统乔·拜登和中国习近平主席进行了“异常长的两小时通话”,一个月后,双方宣布了此次会晤。Xi在电话中表示,两国外交部可以就双边关系中的广泛问题和重大国际和地区问题进行深入沟通。Blinken于2月6日与杨通了电话,他在周三表示,此次会议将是“一次重要的机会,我们可以借此机会非常坦率地向北京方面表达我们的诸多担忧”。“我们还将探索是否有合作的途径。布林肯在被确认为美国最高外交官后首次在国会露面时说:“我们将讨论我们与中国的竞争,以确保美国有一个公平的竞争环境,我们的公司和工人从中受益。”卡内基国际和平基金会亚洲项目高级研究员道格拉斯·帕尔(Douglas H. Paal)表示,会议的时间安排“在一个对双方都方便但以美国领土为基础的网站上”,表明了“对中国的实质性问题的严肃性”。“可能会有一个小的实质性的惊喜,”帕尔说,并补充说,基本的结果可能是相互表达关切和红线。自1979年中美建交以来,中美关系跌至上届政府以来的最低点。随着拜登政府的上台,外交界、商界和学术界对重启世界“最重要的双边关系”的期望越来越高。外交部长王上周表示,中方愿与美方共同努力,落实第一次总统电话会议成果,推动中美关系走上“健康稳定发展”的新路子。“我们希望美国也朝着这个方向前进,尽早取消对双边合作的所有不合理限制,停止制造新的障碍,”王周日在北京举行的年度全国人大会议期间的新闻发布会上说。周二,美国商会发布的一项调查显示,美国在华企业对2021年的业务持非常积极的态度,并预计北京和华盛顿之间的关系将得到改善。调查发现,在345名受访者中,81%的人认为他们在中国的行业在2021年有所增长,而45%的人认为与美国的关系有所改善,比去年上升了15个百分点。上周,中国医学专家和他们的美国同事举行了一个虚拟论坛,他们都强调了两国合作抗击新冠肺炎大流行的必要性。布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)主席约翰艾伦(John Allen)在论坛上表示,两国在抗击从2003年非典到2015年埃博拉病毒的疾病方面有着“建设性和富有成效的合作”的悠久历史,他们需要再次联手,让世界在这场流行病中变得更加强大。

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