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Blinken raises concerns with China’s Wang Yi about Russia’s alignment

Blinken raises concerns with China's Wang Yi about Russia's alignment

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, July 9 (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Saturday he had discussed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine during more than five hours of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in which he raised concerns about Beijing’s siding with Moscow. .

Blinken was speaking at a news conference after his first in-person discussions with Wang since October, a day after attending a meeting of G20 foreign ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali.

“I once again shared with the State Councilor that we are concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia,” Blinken said, referring to the People’s Republic of China. He said he did not think China was acting in a neutral manner because it had supported Russia at the United Nations and “Russian propaganda has been amplified”.

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Blinken said Chinese President Xi Jinping made it clear in a phone call with President Vladimir Putin on June 13 that he sticks to the decision to form a partnership with Russia.

Shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Beijing and Moscow announced a “borderless” partnership. US officials said they have not seen China evade tough US-led sanctions on Russia or provide it with military equipment.

US officials have warned of consequences, including sanctions, if China provides material support for the war, which Moscow has described as a “special military operation” to weaken Ukraine’s military. Kyiv and its Western allies say the invasion was an unjustified land grab.

Blinken declined to describe Wang’s response in Saturday’s talks but described the discussions as “useful, candid and constructive”.

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Wang did not hold a press conference after his meeting with Blinken, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment.

US officials had said before the talks that the meeting was aimed at keeping the difficult US-China relationship stable and preventing it from inadvertently turning into conflict. Read more

Blinken said Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are expected to speak again in the coming weeks.

“China and the United States are two major countries, so it is necessary for the two countries to maintain normal exchanges,” Wang told reporters before the talks.

“At the same time, we need to talk together to ensure that this relationship continues to move forward on the right track,” Wang said.

Daniel Russell, a senior US East Asia diplomat under former President Barack Obama who has close contact with Biden administration officials, said before the talks that the main objective of the meeting would be to explore the possibility of a personal meeting between Biden and . Xi, their first leader, was probably on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali in November.

The United States describes China as its main strategic rival and worries that it may one day try to gain control of the self-ruled, democratic island of Taiwan, just as Russia attacked Ukraine.

Despite their rivalry, the world’s two largest economies remain major trading partners, and Biden is considering eliminating tariffs on a range of Chinese goods to curb rising US inflation ahead of November’s midterm elections, with an eye on congressional control. Read more

(David Bronstrom Stanley Widianto reports) Additional reporting by Ryan Wu in Beijing. Written by Ed Davies. Editing by Christian Schmolinger, Robert Percell and William Mallard

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