The world is paying most attention to the Blinken visit, it finally happened. There was much speculation on how the meeting would go but the feeling on both sides is that it went well. The USA team would have spent the afternoon tense and apprehensive then started to whoop and holler as it was announced just after 4pm that Blinken would get to meet Xi Jinping after all.
Expectations were low on both sides but from low expectations came a great result. After Blinken behaved himself for 7.5 hours with his opposite number, Qin Gang, on Sunday, he went on to a Monday morning meeting with Wang Yi for three hours and clearly that went as well as could be expected because at 4:07pm came the announcement that President Xi would meet with him at 4:30pm.
Chinese media blames this difficult situation leading up to these talks on USA’s “unilateral and erratic policies and actions” and they citing fentanyl, unreasonable sanctions and suppression of trade as being stumbling blocks. China’s message however, is consistent; China is committed to a stable, predictable and constructive relationship with the USA, these words are from Global Times, but can be found throughout Chinese media in China Daily here and People’s Daily here.
For the naysayers who disagree, consider this: China didn’t invite, but did allow Blinken to visit; they did not humiliate him but they could have; on day one of the meeting they agreed to constructive and cordial dialogue and committed to further dialogue; Qin Gang accepted an invitation to visit Washington later in the year; on day two of Blinken’s visit he met with Politburo member and Director of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi; and then in the afternoon, he hit the jackpot with a handshake from the President.
If China wished to be obstructive, the meeting would not have happened, had China wanted to appear constructive whilst acting obstructively, the meeting results would have been very different, clearly the message from China is strong, positive and now places the ball firmly into the US court.
There had been much speculation about whether or not Blinken might meet Wang Yi, he’s a member of the Politburo and Director of the Committee for Foreign Affairs. The fact that it was never announced indicates that this level of escalation was probably unlikely had Blinken opened his part of the meetings with accusations, allegations, threats or posturing.
That a meeting with Wang Yi occurred was an indication that China is serious but a meeting with Xi too indicates even more strongly that China judged Blinken was more serious than in the past and that he had performed in a more diplomatic and reasonable manner. It’s likely that these two meetings were predicated on whether Blinken behaved within diplomatic norms or not, it seems he did and he was rewarded for doing so
Where we are right now is at a crossroads. There are two countries vying for dominance in the world. One has a history of war; one has a history of peace. The country with the history of war has ships and planes off the coast off the other and is accusing the other, the peaceful nation, of aggression.
Dialogue between these two countries is essential, the direction of the next few days and weeks following this meeting will decide if the world moves forward in peace or backwards into war.
As I see it, China didn’t invite Blinken, he was allowed to come, they listened to what he had to say, they’ve made the first conciliatory step back from the brink and it’s really up to Blinken and Biden where the next step goes — let’s all hope it’s in the right direction.
Watch a video reocrding of this article here: https://youtu.be/VcM_hZUxIXk