Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang emphasized the significance of stabilizing the relationship between China and the US, which had been disrupted by misguided actions and statements. During his meeting with US Ambassador Nicholas Burns in Beijing, the Chinese minister stressed the need for the US to rectify its approach towards the Taiwan issue and refrain from compromising the ‘one China’ principle.
China considers Taiwan to be its own territory and has not ruled out use of force to capture the democratically-ruled island nation.
Last year, relations between the US and China were especially strained when Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the US House of Representatives paid an official visit to Taiwan. China had retaliated by severing formal communication channels with the US.
“The top priority is to stabilise Sino-U.S. relations, avoid a downward spiral and prevent any accidents between China and the United States,” Qin told Burns, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
There was a brief thaw in relations between the two countries last November when US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met at a G20 Summit in Indonesia. Both leaders pledged more frequent dialogue.
The relations quickly soured after a Chinese high-altitude balloon appeared in US airspace. America shot down the balloon and Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled scheduled visit to Beijing.
“A series of erroneous words and deeds by the United States since then have undermined the hard-won positive momentum of Sino-US relations,” Qin said with respect to his discussion with Burns.
“The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again encountered cold ice.”
Burns, in a post on Twitter about his talks with Qin, also spoke of the need to bring stability to the relationship.
“We discussed challenges in the US-China relationship and the necessity of stabilising ties and expanding high-level communication,” Burns said.
Blinken last week told the Washington Post that it was important to re-establish regular lines of communication at all levels. Additionally, US climate envoy John Kerry said China had invited him to visit “in the near term” for talks on averting a global climate crisis
China staged war games around Taiwan after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met Kevin McCarthy, US House of Representatives Speaker in Los Angeles.
Since 1979, the US-Taiwan relationship has been governed by the Taiwan Relations Act, which gives a legal basis to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but does not mandate that the United States come to Taiwan’s aid if attacked.