On Saturday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken held his first face-to-face meeting with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi since the suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down earlier this month. The meeting, which took place in Munich, aimed to establish a foundation for future relations between the two countries, given the escalating tensions over various issues.
The shootdown of the suspected Chinese spy balloon by the U.S. military has added to the tension between the two nations. The U.S. claims the balloon was in U.S. airspace, while China has denied the allegations and demanded an investigation into the matter.
In the meeting, Blinken told Wang that the U.S. “will not stand for any violation of our sovereignty and that the PRC’s high altitude surveillance balloon program has intruded into the air space of over 40 countries across five continents and has been exposed to the world.” Blinken stated that the U.S. is responsible for protecting its airspace but also emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue to avoid any escalation of tensions between the two countries. Wang Yi offered no apology.
Blinken also raised concerns over China’s involvement in Russia’s war in Ukraine and warned Wang about the “implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia or assistance with systemic sanctions evasion.” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on global allies and partners to increase their military support to Ukraine, stating that “the time is now to double down on our commitment.
In his speech to the Munich Security Conference, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urges global allies and partners: “Now is the moment to double down on our military support to Ukraine.” https://t.co/XWcoNjkAhr
— UK Military & Defence Staff in US (@UKdefUS) February 18, 2023
Wang Yi, in response, stated that China is committed to developing a relationship with the United States based on mutual respect but also stressed the importance of respecting China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. He also criticized the U.S. for interfering in China’s domestic affairs and called for the two countries to engage in dialogue and cooperation to address their differences.
The two diplomats discussed other issues, including climate change, economic cooperation, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They both expressed the need for global collaboration to address these issues and stressed the importance of working together to find solutions.
The meeting was seen as a positive step towards improving relations between the two nations, but it remains to be seen whether the two sides can reach a lasting agreement on crucial issues.