Blinken: Talks with China “work in progress”

Blinken: U.S. talks with China “a work in progress”


Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there was no breakthrough on resuming military-to-military communication with China following two days of meetings in Beijing with Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, saying the effort is still a “work in progress.”

Blinken’s visit to the country was aimed at relieving tensions and finding areas of agreement between the two countries. In an interview with Blinken in the Chinese capital, “Face the Nation” moderator and CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan asked Blinken if Xi just said “no” to opening a direct line of contact between the two militaries. China shut down military-to-military communication after the U.S. downed a Chinese spy balloon that traversed the U.S. earlier this year. 

Blinken said the two sides are “going to keep working” on an agreement to reopen those lines of communication to avoid an accidental conflict.

“It’s a work in progress,” Blinken told Brennan. “This is something that we need to do in the interests of both of our countries, that is, not only to establish and reestablish and strengthen lines of communication across our government — which we have done, starting with this trip, and I believe visits to follow by a number of my colleagues, and then Chinese officials coming to the United States. Hugely important if we’re going to responsibly manage the relationship, if we’re going to communicate clearly and try to avoid the competition that we have veering into conflict. But an aspect of that that really is important is military-to-military. We don’t have an agreement on that yet. It’s something we’re going to keep working.”

The secretary said he made it “very clear” to his Chinese counterparts that military-to-military communication is also in their interest.

“We both agree that we want to, at the very least, make sure that we don’t inadvertently have a conflict because of miscommunication, because of misunderstanding,” Blinken said. 

Blinken’s trip to China was the first of a secretary of state since 2018, and was aimed at cooling tensions that have flared up over the past several months, most notably in the wake of the spy balloon incident. The secretary told reporters that both sides “agree on the need to stabilize our relationship” but deep divisions still remain on a number of issues.

Standing beside Xi, Blinken said President Biden sent him to Beijing “because he believes that the United States and China have an obligation and responsibility to manage our relationship. The United States is committed to doing that.  It’s in the interest of the United States, in the interests of China, and in the interest of the world.” 


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