Chinese and U.S. officials hold 'frank, comprehensive' talks in Zurich
China and the U.S. finished their latest round of key talks in Zurich, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan covered a raft of priority issues between the two global powers, including the South China Sea and Taiwan.
A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) statement called the meeting a "comprehensive, frank and in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and international and regional issues of common concern."
It said the meeting was constructive and conducive to enhancing mutual understanding. The two sides agreed to take action to implement the spirit of the September 10 phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden, strengthen strategic communication, properly manage differences, avoid conflict and confrontation, seek mutual benefits and win-win, and work together to put China-U.S. relations back on the right track of healthy and stable development.
Yang pointed out that whether China and the United States can handle the relations well is a matter of fundamental interest to the two countries, their people and the future of the world.
When China and the United States cooperate, both countries and the world benefit. If China and the United States confront each other, both countries and the world will suffer serious damage, he said.
The U.S. side should have a deep understanding of the mutually beneficial nature of the relationship between the two countries and a correct understanding of China's internal and external policies and strategic intentions, Yang noted, adding that China opposes defining the bilateral relationship in terms of "competition."
He said that China attaches importance to Biden's recent positive statements on bilateral relations, and notes that the U.S. side has expressed its intention not to curb China's development and not to engage in a "new cold war." He added that China hopes that the U.S. side will adopt a rational and pragmatic policy towards it and join Beijing in respecting each other's core interests and major concerns, and follow the path of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between the two countries.
Yang elaborated on China's stern position on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, the South China Sea and human rights, and requested that the U.S. side respect China's sovereignty, security and development interests and stop using the above issues to interfere in China's internal affairs.
The U.S. side expressed its adherence to the one-China policy, according to the MOFA statement. The two sides also exchanged views on climate change and regional issues of common concern and agreed to maintain a regular dialogue and communication on important issues.
According to a White House statement released after the meeting, Sullivan made clear during his talk with Yang that the U.S. will "continue to invest in our national strength and work closely with our allies and partners." It will also "continue to engage with China at a senior level to ensure responsible competition."
When asked about the meeting, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday during a press briefing that the United States hopes to reduce friction in the China-U.S. relationship in the future through constructive dialogue.
The Zurich meeting followed several other recent high-level exchanges between the two sides.
Here are some key points from those discussions:
In a phone conversation with Biden on September 10, President Xi pointed out that the relationship had run into serious difficulty due to the U.S. policy on China.
He said Beijing and Washington needed to show broad vision and shoulder great responsibilities. The two countries should look ahead and press forward, demonstrate strategic courage and political resolve and bring China-U.S. relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world.
Biden said that the two powers had no interest in letting competition veer into conflict and that the U.S. was prepared to have more candid exchanges and constructive discussions with China to identify key and priority areas where cooperation is possible, avoid miscommunication, miscalculation and unintended conflict and get U.S.-China relations back on track.
In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 11, Yang Jiechi said that the Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and involves China's core interests. He reiterated that there is only one China in the world and that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.
In his later phone conversation with Xi, Biden said the U.S. side has no intention to try to change the one-China policy.
Xi has also elaborated on China's position on climate change in previous exchanges with the U.S.
He stressed that China continues to prioritize ecological conservation and pursues a green and low-carbon path of development. He said the country has taken the initiative to actively shoulder international responsibilities befitting China's national conditions.
Biden said the U.S. side looked forward to more discussions and cooperation with China to reach more common positions on climate change and other important issues.
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