Blinken and China's Wang Yi meet in Indonesia in latest push to improve relations

US Secretary of State meets Chinese diplomat on sidelines of Association of South-East Asian Nations meeting in Jakarta

China's Wang Yi, left, meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Jakarta in the latest effort to improve relations between the two superpowers. AFP
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met China's top diplomat Wang Yi in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday amid a flurry of diplomatic activity between the two world powers.

“The meeting was part of ongoing efforts to maintain open channels of communication to clarify US interests across a wide range of issues and to responsibly manage competition by reducing the risk of misperception and miscalculation,” the US State Department said.

It comes on the heels of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to China, where she met the country’s economic leaders.

Last month, Mr Blinken travelled to Beijing and met Chinese President Xi Jinping in a highly anticipated diplomatic rendezvous.

Tension between the two countries has been high since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

Mr Blinken had cancelled an earlier trip to China in February after the US shot down a Chinese high-altitude balloon suspected of spying.

Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed it had “mitigated” a threat from China-linked hackers who had been attempting to gain access to email accounts at 25 organisations, including US government agencies, in an alleged espionage campaign.

The US State Department said that Mr Blinken raised “concerns shared by the United States and allies and partners regarding PRC [People's Republic of China] actions” during his conversation with Mr Wang, who is the director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Office.

The two diplomats are attending the Association of South-East Asian Nations summit in Jakarta.

According to the statement issued by Washington, the two sides agreed to “maintain open channels of communication in the weeks and months ahead”.

Updated: July 13, 2023, 3:51 PM