Diplomats’ meeting a silver lining for Sino-US relations

The exchange of views between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Taiwan question, and economic and trade issues on the sidelines of the recent G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, was expected to help stabilize China-US relations.

Of late, China and the US have maintained regular contacts and held frequent talks on different issues, so as to prevent bilateral ties from deteriorating further.

China also pursues an independent foreign policy and is committed to promoting genuine multilateralism in the face of major challenges to world peace and development

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which the United States and its Western allies instigated, has had a huge impact on the global and regional security landscapes. The US-led NATO's aggressive eastward expansion, ignoring Russia's constant warnings not to do so, is the root cause of the conflict. And instead of trying to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict, the US and its Western allies have been supplying weapons and other military equipment to Ukraine in order to weaken Russia by prolonging the conflict.

Worse, the recent NATO Summit in Madrid decided to increase its rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000 next year, which in effect means Europe will return to the Cold War days of NATO vs Soviet Union rivalry. The decision came despite the US and other Western countries having imposed strict sanctions on Russia with the aim of debilitating its economy.

China has always opposed unilateral sanctions against any country, for they violate international law and the United Nations Charter and, rather than solving the existing problems, create new and more complicated problems.

For example, the sanctions against Russia have not only hurt the Russian economy, but also increased inflation, triggered food and energy crises, and disrupted supply chains in many parts of the world, hindering global economic recovery and increasing poverty in developing and low-income countries. That's why China wants a diplomatic, peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Besides, the US may never be able to isolate Russia in the global arena. At the Bali meeting, some G20 countries took a stance on the Ukraine crisis that is different from that of the US and its allies. And countries including China and India have even abstained from voting on UN resolutions targeting Russia and refused to condemn Russia.

The US also called for the removal of Russia from the G20, but China, Brazil and South Africa oppose such a move. In fact, the US has been pressuring Indonesia, which will host the G20 Summit in November, not to invite Russia, but Indonesia has refused to bow down to the US.

The US' strong-arm tactics including sanctions have further complicated the Russia-Ukraine conflict, not least because the US has blacklisted some companies from China and other countries for their "suspected support for Russia's military and defense industries".

Indeed, the US has been intensifying its China-containment policy. At the Madrid summit, NATO unveiled a new strategic concept which defines China as a "systemic challenge" when the fact is that China does not pose a security threat to any NATO member. Yet the invitation of Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand to the Madrid summit shows the US and its allies are bent on containing China by expanding the transatlantic military organization to the Asia-Pacific region.

The real guardrails of China-US relations are the three joint communiques. Since the US and China are the world's two largest economies, permanent UN Security Council members and nuclear powers, their relations are very complicated, in which the Taiwan question remains the most sensitive, which, if mishandled, could cause irreparable damage to China-US relations.

So the US should fulfill the commitments it made in the three joint communiques.

Moreover, after the Russia-Ukraine conflict intensified, many US academics and politicians started saying this should warn the Chinese mainland not to attempt a "military takeover" of Taiwan. But the fact is, Taiwan is fundamentally different from Ukraine, given that it is not a sovereign state. There is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.

Both the US' attempt to contain China by playing the Taiwan card and the island authorities' attempt to seek "independence" with US help are doomed to failure.

That some countries stress the principle of sovereignty in the Ukraine issue but challenge China's sovereignty over Taiwan exposes their double standard. China upholds the UN Charter and the world order based on it. China also pursues an independent foreign policy and is committed to promoting genuine multilateralism in the face of major challenges to world peace and development.

And on the basis of mutual respect and equality, China hopes to build an open, friendly and mutually beneficial relationship with the US. As for the US, only by abandoning the Cold War mentality, bloc confrontation and zero-sum game can it promote the stable and sound development of Sino-US relations.

The author is an associate research fellow at the Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.