Beijing sees Taiwan as the biggest threat in its relations with the United States

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by Chayut Setboonsarng and Liangping Gao

BANGKOK/BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke in Bangkok to stay in touch, both sides said, with Beijing stressing that ” Taiwan independence” poses the greatest risk to Sino-US relations.

This interview took place a little more than two months after a meeting between American President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco.

China and the United States had a difficult start to 2023, but met more during the second half of the year to try to stabilize their relations ahead of Taiwan’s democratic presidential transition in May and the 2024 U.S. election campaign, which could be decisive.

Wang Yi and Jake Sullivan agreed to properly handle important and sensitive issues in China-US relations, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, adding that they also agreed to “maintain regular contacts to provide strategic directions for bilateral relations (…) and to make good use of current strategic communication channels”.

In San Francisco, Xi Jinping and Joe Biden agreed to open a direct presidential telephone line, reconnect military-to-military communications and work to reduce fentanyl production, but they remained at odds over Taiwan.

China claims the island as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. Taiwan strongly opposes these sovereignty claims and asserts that only the island’s people can decide its future.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok and Liangping Gao in Beijing; writing by Martin Petty, French version Benjamin Mallet)


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