ang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Zurich, Switzerland on October 6.
The two sides “comprehensively and deeply” exchanged ideas on common concerns in a “candid” manner, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement which described the meeting as “constructive and conducive” toward enhancing mutual understanding.
The two sides agreed to push the SinoUS relationship back to normal by increasing strategic communications, properly controlling differences, avoiding conflicts and confrontation, and seeking mutual interests and win-win cooperation.
The Foreign Ministry said the meeting came after a phone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden in September, during which Biden said the Sino-US relationship is the world’s most important bilateral relationship, and the two countries have no reason to be caught in confrontation due to competition. Biden said the US is willing to have more frank and constructive dialogues with China.
Yang mentioned the positive remarks from the US side during his meeting with Sullivan, saying the US “needs to have a deep understanding of the mutually beneficial nature of the Sino-US relationship and correctly understand China’s domestic and foreign policies and strategic intentions,” the Xinhua News Agency reported. Yang also said that China opposes defining the Sino-US relationship as “competitive.”
Yang reiterated China’s position on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur and Tibet autonomous regions, and the US side responded that the US will adhere to its “One-China” policy.
Analysts view the dialogue as a signal that tensions are easing between China and the US. On October 4, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a speech on the Sino-US trade relationship that the US’s objective “is not to inflame trade tensions with China.” In the Q&A section, Tai urged both the countries to “recouple,” which made headlines worldwide.
On October 9, Vice Premier Liu He who leads trade negotiations for China, met with Tai via video link. The two sides, according to Xinhua, exchanged comments on the implementation of the Sino-US economic and trade agreement and agreed to “solve each other’s reasonable concerns through negotiations.” They agreed to keep communication based on equality and mutual respect.
In an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN) on October 11, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng revealed that China and the US have established a joint working group to discuss specific issues when dealing with the bilateral relationship and that there has been some progress.
“This proves that dialogue and cooperation are indispensable, and that confrontation and conflict will lead us nowhere,” he said, China Daily reported.
Le said that China has noticed the positive signals between the lines in Tai’s remarks, but firmly rejected any “groundless accusations” against China. He said that trade volume between the two countries grew by 8.8 percent in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic and from January to August 2021, bilateral trade volume grew by 36.6 percent year-on-year.
“The high-level talks indicate that China is always ready to act with goodwill, sincerity, and work to improve China-US relations, and that our door to dialogue is open at any time,” Le said, adding that Beijing “takes seriously” the positive comments from the US and “expects to see them translated into policies and actions.”