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Blinken stresses need for better US-Chinese communications as he heads to Beijing

Blinken stresses need for better US-Chinese communications as he heads to Beijing


Shortly before setting out for Beijing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is emphasizing the importance of the U.S. and China establishing better lines of communication

ByELLEN KNICKMEYER Associated Press
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, attends a news conference with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at the State Department, Friday, June 16, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — Shortly before setting out for Beijing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday emphasized the importance of the U.S. and China establishing better lines of communication. He will be the highest-ranking member of the Biden administration to visit China.

The U.S. wants to make sure “that the competition we have with China doesn’t veer into conflict” due to avoidable misunderstandings, Blinken told reporters in Washington.

Blinken, speaking alongside Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, said his China trip is the outgrowth of a meeting in Bali last year between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden. The two agreed that China and the United States, the world’s biggest two economies and increasingly top rivals for global influence, must maintain contacts and and take steps to avoid unintended conflicts.

Blinken’s trip came within a day of happening in February but was delayed by the diplomatic and political tumult brought on by the discovery of what the U.S. says was a Chinese spy balloon flying across the United States.

Biden and Xi had made commitments to improve communications “precisely so that we can make sure we are communicating as clearly as possible to avoid possible misunderstandings and miscommunications,” Blinken said Friday. “The place you start is with communicating.”

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U.S. allies and others are signaling that they want the two rivals to “responsibly manage this relationship and look for areas where our cooperation might produce results that benefit not only our own people but people around the world, including in the region,” he said.

Blinken was to leave Washington late Friday for meetings on Sunday and Monday.

Published: 2023-06-16 19:17:06

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