Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to meet on G20 sidelines in Rome

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome on Sunday for their first face-to-face exchange since a rare public fiery encounter in Alaska in March.

The US State Department said the two senior diplomats would meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, which Wang is attending on behalf of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Speaking via video-link on Saturday, Xi said “developed countries” should lead the way in the fight to cut global greenhouse gas emissions and the world’s most powerful economies should “shoulder their due responsibilities” in the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wang-Blinken talks follow a meeting between China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Switzerland early this month to try to improve communication between the two strategic rivals.

At that gathering, the two sides agreed to continue to engage with one another at a senior level to help pave the way for a virtual meeting between the Chinese and US presidents before the end of this year.

It was another sign of easing in tensions after four years of tumult in the bilateral relationship.

In September, Xi and his US counterpart Joe Biden had their second phone conversation since Biden took the office in January, with Xi urging the two sides to resume dialogue “to avoid misjudgments and to differentiate those disputes which could be contained”, according to state news agency Xinhua.

But confrontations remain, particularly over Taiwan.

Last week, Beijing responded with fury to Blinken’s call for United Nations member states to support the self-ruled island’s efforts to take part in international bodies, a move that Beijing warned could lead to a rift in China-US relations.

Wang also met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday, calling for on dialogue to deal with “grave challenges to international peace and stability”, according to a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry.

“As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, both China and France should be highly vigilant against those words and actions that create confrontation and provoke a new cold war at the international level, firmly defend multilateralism, resolutely oppose hegemonism, unilateralism and protectionism, and demonstrate the responsibility of a great power,” Wang was quoted as saying.

With France set to take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of next year, Wang said cooperation was needed to push forward “healthy and stable” relations between China and Europe.

In response, Le Drian said France abided by the one-China principle and was willing to continue negotiations with China under the UN and G20 mechanisms, according to the Chinese foreign ministry statement.

Author: Laura Zhou, SCMP

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