Ahead of the meeting with Secretary Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister said the Taiwan question is growing into the biggest risk in China-US relations, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
The Foreign Ministers of China and the United States are set to meet in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as soaring tensions between the world’s largest economies show signs of easing.
In a sign of smoother ties, Wang said he met in New York with US climate envoy John Kerry despite China’s announcement after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit that it was curbing cooperation on the issue, a key priority for Biden, Agence France-Presse reported.
But Beijing has issued a new warning against Washington’s support for Taiwan.
In a speech before his talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wang reiterated anger over US support for Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.
“The Taiwan question is growing into the biggest risk in China-US relations. Should it be mishandled it is most likely to devastate bilateral ties,” he said at the Asia Society think tank.
“Just as the US will not allow Hawaii to be stripped away, China has the right to uphold the unification of the country,” he said.
He denounced the US decision to “allow” the Taiwan visit by Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president. The Biden administration, while privately concerned about her trip, noted that Congress is a separate branch of government, the AFP reported.
The talks between top diplomats of both countries are expected to lay the groundwork for a first meeting between Biden and President Xi Jinping, likely in Bali in November on the sidelines of G20 Summit.
Recently during his address at the UNGA, President Biden has acknowledged that there are “shifting geopolitical trends” in relation to China, but said that the US does not seek conflict or want another cold war.
He said: “Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China. As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader.”
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner”, he said.
But the US will “be unabashed in promoting our vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world,” he added.
With tensions rising between Beijing and Taipei, especially after US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in August, Biden said, “We seek to uphold peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.”
He reiterated Washington’s commitment to “‘One China’ policy, which has helped prevent conflict for four decades. And we continue to oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side”.
He also criticised Beijing’s nuke programme, saying “China is conducting an unprecedented, concerning nuclear buildup without any transparency”.
He said that Washington was engaged in “new, constructive ways to work with partners to advance shared interests” and was “elevating” the Quad – a group of India, the US, Australia and Japan in the Indo-Pacific”.
In a dig at Beijing’s programmes such as the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and others for infrastructure programmes that have led to serious economic problems for countries like Sri Lanka, Biden tried to contrast them with Washington’s.
Earlier in an interview with CBS News, President Biden reiterated that Washington will defend Taiwan in the event of an “unprecedented attack” by China.
Biden was asked “what should Chinese President Xi know about your commitment to Taiwan?”, to which the President replied: “We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago… And that there’s one China policy, and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence.
“We are not moving, we’re not encouraging their being independent. We’re not… That’s their decision.”
To the next query if US forces would defend the island, Biden said: “Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack…”
Shortly after Biden made the remarks, the White House said that “our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed”, clearing the notion that the US policy since 1979 to recognise Taiwan as part of China remained unchanged.