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Blinken tells China’s Wang peace in Taiwan Strait is vital

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NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Chinese counterpart on Friday that maintaining peace and stability in Taiwan is vital as the two faced high tensions over China’s claimed island.

Taiwan was the focus of the 90-minute, “direct and honest” talks between Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a senior government official told reporters.

“For our part, the secretary has made it crystal clear that, in line with our long-standing one-China policy, which again has not changed, maintaining peace and stability across the Strait is absolutely vital,” said the official.

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Tensions over Taiwan have soared after an August visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, followed by large-scale Chinese military exercises, and a pledge by US President Joe Biden to defend the self-governed island.

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Biden’s statement was his most explicit yet about deploying US troops to defend the island. It was also the last time he appeared to go beyond a long-standing US policy of “strategic ambiguity,” which does not make clear whether Washington would respond militarily to an attack on Taiwan. read more

The White House has maintained that Taiwan’s policy has not changed, but China said Biden’s comments sent the wrong signal to those seeking an independent Taiwan. read more

In a phone call with Biden in July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned of Taiwan, saying “those who play with fire will perish.”

The State Department had previously said Blinken’s meeting with Wang was part of Washington’s ongoing efforts to “maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition,” and the senior official said Blinken would enhance U.S. openness. had reiterated to “cooperate with China on matters of global concern”. .”

Blinken also “highlighted the implications” if China were to provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or participate in large-scale sanctions evasion, the official added.

US officials have said in the past they have seen no evidence that China is providing such support.

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Blinken “emphasized that the United States and China and the international community have a duty to work to counter the effects of that invasion and also to deter Russia from taking further provocative actions,” the official said.

China considers democratically governed Taiwan as one of its provinces. Beijing has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and does not rule out the use of force.

The government of Taiwan strongly opposes China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the island’s 23 million residents can decide the island’s future.

‘DUST OUR BILATERAL TIES’

Blinken’s meeting with Wang was preceded by a meeting between the foreign ministers of the Quad grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States, who issued a statement, referring to the Indo-Pacific, saying that “we strongly oppose any unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region.”

The official who briefed Friday said that since Pelosi’s visit, “China has taken a number of provocative steps that have deliberately changed the status quo.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris will discuss Taiwan’s security in bilateral meetings with leaders of key US allies Japan and South Korea when she visits their two countries next week, another senior government official said Friday. read more

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Speaking to the Asia Society think tank in New York on Thursday, Wang said the Taiwan issue became the biggest risk in China-US relations.

“If handled incorrectly, it will most likely destroy our bilateral ties,” Wang said, according to a transcript from the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Likewise, the decades-old U.S. law outlining Washington’s unofficial relations with Taiwan — which Beijing deems void — makes it clear that Washington’s decision to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1979 “depends on the expectation that Taiwan’s future will be determined by peaceful means. “

Earlier this week, Wang met with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the architect of US relations with communist China, and said a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan was China’s pursuit.

However, he said the possibility of a peaceful solution was diminished by Taiwan’s increasingly “unbridled” sense of independence and quoted a Chinese proverb: “It is better to lose a thousand soldiers than an inch of territory.”

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Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina and Simon Lewis; Editing by Mary Milliken, Sam Holmes, Diane Craft and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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