Chinese foreign minister outlines ways to repair Sino-US ties

The US must respect China's bottom line and red line and stop harming China's sovereignty, security and development interests, he said.


Chinese and US flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

May 9, 2023

BEIJING – Ties: Calm, professional, pragmatic attitude urged

Beijing offered a roadmap with clear requirements for repairing strained ties with Washington when State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met on Monday with United States Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns and urged the US to view China properly, observers said.

The one-on-one meeting in Beijing was the first of its kind between the two senior diplomats since they assumed their current posts.

“The most urgent task at hand is to stabilize China-US relations, avoid (the ties) spiraling down, and prevent accidents between China and the US,” Qin said.

“This should be the most fundamental consensus between China and the US as well as the bottom line that must be maintained when countries, especially two major countries, get along,” he added.

Tensions linger between the world’s top two economies over topics including the Taiwan question, increased US economic and technology restrictions, Washington’s hyping of an unmanned Chinese civilian airship as a “spy balloon” and the expanding US military presence in East Asia, analysts noted.

In November, President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden met in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit and reached important consensus.

“But a series of wrong words and actions by the US side since then have damaged the hard-won positive momentum of China-US relations, disrupted the dialogue and cooperation agendas agreed to between the two sides and left two-way ties in an icy situation again,” he said.

China will further adhere to the principle proposed by Xi in handling China-US relations, and the US should “deeply reflect and move forward with China to bring China-US relations out of difficulties and back on the right track”, Qin said.

Diao Daming, an associate professor at the School of International Studies of Renmin University of China, said, “Qin sent clear signals on three things — China’s consistency in earnestly tackling ties with the US, the US’ full responsibility for worsening the ties, and the need for the US to deeply reflect in order to get the ties back on the right track.”

“Mutual respect and win-win collaboration will not be possible unless Washington acts properly to enable dialogue, respects Beijing’s core interests and stops politicizing unexpected incidents,” Diao said.

Only by perceiving China properly can the US break away from the Cold-War era mentality, stop suppressing and coercing China, and effectively manage incidents, Diao added.

At the talks on Monday, Qin urged the US to “correct its perception of China, return to rationality”.

The US must respect China’s bottom line and red line and stop harming China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, he said.

In particular, it must properly handle the Taiwan question, stop hollowing out the one-China principle, and stop supporting and condoning “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces, he added.

It is necessary to adhere to a calm, professional and pragmatic attitude to deal with accidental incidents in relations between the two countries, in order to avoid further shocks to China-US relations, he said.

Qin highlighted the spirit of seeking harmony while honoring differences when describing the ideal status of China-US ties, and asked Burns to engage in more contacts and exchanges in China, and make constructive efforts to act as a bridge between China and the US.

Su Xiaohui, an associate research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said the meeting on Monday was “part of Beijing’s proactive moves to shape China-US ties”.

“While China has been sincere in its official contacts with the US, it is the US that ruined the atmosphere for contacts, facilitated anti-China sentiments and continued coercion against China,” she said.

Qin sent clear warnings on potential risks and subsequent consequences since “the US has been playing with fire by breaching the lines drawn by Beijing”, she added.

In another development, the Foreign Ministry announced that Qin started his five-day visit to Germany, France and Norway on Monday.

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