Blinken Meets Xi as China Warns U.S. Must Choose Between ‘Cooperation or Conflict’

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Leah Millis/Pool Photo via AP

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday as America’s top diplomat concluded a flying two-day visit to Beijing.

According to AP, a Blinken-Xi meeting had been expected, but neither side had confirmed it would happen until just an hour before the talks, which are seen as key to the success of the trip.

News of the diplomatic head-to-head came after China told the U.S. earlier in the day it must choose between “cooperation or conflict” with Beijing as both countries seek to navigate a diplomatic way forward amid fraught relations between the world’s two largest economies.

BODY LANGUAGE: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 19, 2023. (LEAH MILLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty)

Wang Yi, China’s highest-ranking foreign policy official, told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the terms and conditions during his final day of a 48-hour trip to the communist country.

The pair spoke for three hours on Monday at the ornate state guesthouse in the ancient Diaoyutai gardens, according to a State Department official cited by AFP.

Neither Washington nor Beijing has confirmed a meeting between Blinken and Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, whose meeting with President Joe Biden in Bali last year raised cautious hopes for a thaw in the relationship.

The current diplomatic push comes amidst fresh allegations of Chinese hackers have launched “the broadest cyber-espionage campaign known to be conducted by a China-nexus threat actor since the mass exploitation of Microsoft Exchange in early 2021.”

“The Secretary of State’s trip to Beijing this time comes at a critical juncture in China-U.S. relations,” Wang told Blinken, according to a readout from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“It is necessary to make a choice between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation or conflict,” he said.

“We must reverse the downward spiral of China-U.S. relations, push for a return to a healthy and stable track, and work together to find a correct way for China and the United States to get along,” Wang added.

He also issued a warning on Taiwan, the self-ruling democracy claimed and continually threatened by Beijing, while reasserting the Communist dictatorship’s longstanding claim to vast swathes of the South China Sea.

WATCH: China Air Force Fighter Jet Performs “Aggressive” Fly-By in Front of U.S. Aircraft

US Indo-Pacific Command via Storyful

“On this issue, China has no room to compromise or concede,” Wang told Blinken, according to CCTV.

“The United States must truly adhere to the One China principle confirmed in the three joint U.S.-China communiques, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and clearly oppose ‘Taiwan independence’.”

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