ZURICH / BEIJING, Oct. 6 (Reuters) – US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi began talks in Switzerland on Wednesday in a bid to improve communication amid growing strategic rivalry and tensions in hot spots, including Taiwan.
A source close to the Zurich talks told Reuters that the closed-door meeting was underway at an airport hotel in the Swiss city, where Chinese and Western journalists met.
This is Sullivan’s first face-to-face meeting with Yang since their acrimonious exchange in Alaska in March, which was also attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The White House said in a statement that the meeting followed President Joe Biden’s September 9 call with Chinese President Xi Jinping “as we continue to seek to responsibly manage competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China “.
This call ended a nearly seven-month gap in direct communication between leaders, and they discussed the need to ensure that competition between the two – with relations falling to their lowest level in decades – does not degenerate into conflict.
In a brief statement Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry said Yang and Sullivan “will exchange views on Sino-US relations and relevant issues” at their meeting in Zurich.
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Biden said on Tuesday he had spoken to Xi about Taiwan and that they had agreed to abide by the “Taiwan Accord” as tensions escalated between Taipei and Beijing.
Biden appeared to be referring to Washington’s long-standing policy of officially recognizing Beijing rather than Taipei, and the Taiwan Relations Act, which makes it clear that the United States’ decision to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing instead of Taiwan is based on the hope that Taiwan’s future will be determined by peaceful means.
The White House said Sullivan will also travel to Brussels for meetings with NATO and European Union officials, as well as Paris, and brief Europeans on his meeting with Yang.
With trade tensions also high on the U.S.-China agenda, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in Paris for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development meetings, said she hoped to meet with them soon. its Chinese counterparts.
On Monday, Tai unveiled the results of a month-long “top-down” review of China’s trade policy, pledging to hold “frank” talks with Beijing over its failure to deliver on promises made in the former President Donald Trump’s trade deal and to end harmful industrial policies.
The Global Times, a Chinese state-run tabloid, said China was willing to establish mutually beneficial trade with the United States, but would not make concessions on principle and was not afraid of a contest. long term.
“The Sino-American trade war has been going on for more than three and a half years. Instead of being weakened, the Chinese economy has taken a step forward compared to the scale of the United States,” he said. declared.
Reporting by John Revill and Michael Shields in Zurich, Ryan Woo and Tom Daly in Beijing, Steve Holland, David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina in Washington; written by Stéphanie Nebehay; Editing by William Maclean
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