During a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed the “progress” and “common ground” between Beijing and Washington, despite rising tensions.
The meeting between Xi and Blinken was not part of the official agenda of the second and final day of his visit to Beijing and was confirmed by both parties at the last minute.
A snub by the Chinese leader would have been a major setback to the effort to restore and maintain communications at senior levels.
And Blinken’s visit comes after his initial plans to travel to China were postponed in February after a Chinese surveillance balloon was shootdown over the US.
“The two sides made progress and reached common ground on certain specific, unspecified points,” Xi stressed, describing the progress as “a very good thing”, according to a görüntü broadcast by state television CCTV.
“I hope that through this visit, Secretary of State Blinken will bring a positive result to the stabilisation of relations between China and the United States,” Xi said.
Xi also said he was pleased with the outcome of Blinken’s earlier meetings with two top Chinese diplomats, and said the two countries had agreed to resume a program of understandings that he and US President Joe Biden agreed to at a meeting in Bali last year.
“The Chinese side has made our position clear, and the two sides have agreed to follow through the common understandings Biden and I had reached in Bali,” Xi said.
Biden is the highest-level American official to visit China since Biden took office.
Relations between China and US reach ‘critical moment’
Earlier on Monday, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi told Antony Blinken that Beijing and Washington, having reached a “critical moment” in their relations, had to choose “between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation and conflict.”
The Chinese official also strongly reaffirmed his country’s position on Taiwan.
Beijing considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces, which it has not yet managed to reunite with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
“Maintaining national unity is always at the heart of China’s fundamental interests” and “on this issue, China will make no compromises or concessions”, Wang told Blinken.
Beijing says it is opposed to what it perceives as a continuing rapprochement in recent years between Washington and the Taiwanese authorities.