Biden and Xi will speak virtually as soon as the end of July

The United States and China are planning a virtual meeting between their leaders as early as the last week of July, after the heads of diplomacy from the world’s two major economies met last week on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) in Bali, Indonesia. .

Chinese officials have proposed a virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 25, according to diplomatic sources familiar with Saturday’s five-hour talks between the teams led by US Secretary of State Antony. Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. .

A 20-minute one-on-one session between Blinken and Wang did not take place after lengthy talks between US-Chinese officials who covered topics including Russia’s war on Ukraine, Taiwan, human rights man and North Korea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a meeting in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, July 9, 2022.

“As far as President Xi and President Biden are concerned, we hope that they will have the opportunity to speak in the coming weeks,” Blinken told VOA during a Sunday press conference in Bangkok, in Thailand.

Asked if Biden and Xi could hold their first face-to-face meetings in November, Blinken said he couldn’t speak to “what might happen in the fall.”

Thailand welcomes This year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit November 18-19. Indonesia hosts the G-20 Summit November 15-16.

China recently told the Thai government that Xi would attend the APEC summit if he had no other obligations. Xi has not left China since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In-depth discussion on Taiwan

A senior State Department official said simultaneous translation during Saturday’s meetings allowed both sides to have longer discussions.

“There were some pretty in-depth exchanges, specifically on areas that we disagree on, including human rights and concerns about stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the official said.

China has increased the number of military flights in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone at sea and sometimes, holding military exercises around Taiwan, especially when visiting US congressmen in the self-governing democracy.

The Taiwan talks came as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted battle drills around Taiwan, which drew criticism from Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott who visited Taiwan the last week.

“I strongly condemn Communist China’s military aggression against Taiwan. These shameful bullying tactics will never weaken my unwavering commitment to supporting freedom and democracy for ALL and protecting the national security interests of the United States,” said Scott in a tweet.

Washington has warned Beijing not to overreact ahead of a planned visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing democracy. Pelosi, a California Democrat, postponed her trip to Taiwan in April after testing positive for COVID-19.

US officials have warned Beijing that its continued military coercion against Taiwan is counterproductive, deeply destabilizing and risks being miscalculated.

For decades, the United States has made it clear that its decision to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1979 was based on the expectation that “Taiwan’s future will be determined by peaceful means,” as the law states. on relations with Taiwan.

The United States said he “does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle'”.

The United States remains committed to its “longstanding bipartisan one-China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, three joint communiqués and six assurances.”

Chinese report of the meeting of foreign ministers said the United States “should stop digging or distorting the one-China policy, stop ‘slicing salami’ on the Taiwan issue, and refrain from playing the ‘Taiwan card’ to obstruct to the peaceful reunification of China”.

He further quoted Wang who warned that the United States “must not underestimate the Chinese people’s firm determination to defend their territorial sovereignty and must not make fundamental mistakes that would jeopardize peace in the Straits. of Taiwan”.

Candid Discussions of Chinese Americans and Uighurs Wrongly Detained

The two sides also reportedly discussed the Chinese government’s human rights practices. “The Secretary (Blinken) has been very clear about a number of Chinese Americans wrongfully detained (he has had candid discussions with Wang) on ​​human rights issues, including Chinese nationals. RPC that we also have deep concerns,” a senior State Department official said.

Among them is jailed prominent Uyghur scholar and economist Ilham Tohti, who has been serving a life sentence on separatism-related charges since 2014. The scholar and economist founded the website Uyghur Online, which aims to promote understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. He was also candid about Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the far western region of Xinjiang.

Other cases include US pastor David Lin and US citizen Kai Li. Lin was detained under unclear circumstances in 2006 and later sentenced to life in prison for contract fraud. Lin’s family firmly maintained her innocence. Lin’s sentence was later reduced and is expected to be released in 2029. Li was arrested in 2016 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage, a charge his family denies.

A senior US official said Blinken “spoke in very human terms, putting politics aside” when raising concerns about cases of Chinese Americans being held hostage or wrongfully detained by the PRC.

Lin and Li’s families spoke with Blinken last month.

The Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based humanitarian organization that advocates for the release of political and religious prisoners, told VOA it estimates as many as 200 Americans are being arbitrarily detained in China, and as many as 30 are subject to illegal exit bans.

The Chinese government rejects accusations that it is forcing Uyghurs into internment camps, calling them centers for education or vocational training instead. Beijing also rejects State Department accusations that Americans were arbitrarily detained while in China. In the past, Chinese officials have called the Department’s claims distortions of the truth and complained about the treatment of Chinese citizens in America.

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