China sent military planes to Taiwan after US Secretary of State left Beijing

Taiwan reported renewed Chinese military activity near the island on Saturday after 12 aircraft flew over the sensitive center line of the Taiwan Strait, a day after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrapped up a visit to China

by Sededin Dedovic
China sent military planes to Taiwan after US Secretary of State left Beijing
© Pool / Getty Images

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken ended his latest visit to China at a record store in Beijing where he bought albums by American singer Taylor Swift and Chinese rocker Dou Wei in symbolic support for the cultural exchange and mutual understanding he advocated during his three-day visit.

"Music is the best way to connect," Blinken said at the record store he stopped by on his way to the airport late last night, a relaxed part of the meeting. However - as AP writes - Taylor Sweet's track "Midnights" and Dou Wei's "Black Dream" could just as easily represent seemingly insurmountable divisions in relations between the world's two largest economies, for which both sides publicly and privately accuse each other.

Blinken and his Chinese interlocutors, including President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, all addressed those divisions, but also praised the advantage of open communication to discuss those differences and avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments.

Blinken tried to advocate for the importance of US-China exchange at all levels. During official meetings with Chinese leaders in Beijing, he repeatedly spoke of how ties had improved over the past year. He emphasized that the US is seriously and increasingly concerned about China's actions at the local, regional and global levels.

Blinken said that the US will not budge on this and will always "defend its core interests and values".

Blinken and Wang emphasized that it is important to maintain open communication, but they also talked about divisions that threa© News24Z / youtube channel

He has repeatedly criticized China's excessive production of subsidized electric vehicles that hurts the interests of automakers in the US and Europe, and complained that China is not doing enough to stop the production and export of synthetic opioids.

He also openly warned that the US, if China does not stop supporting the Russian defense sector, will act to stop it. "I made it clear that if China doesn't start solving that problem, we will," Blinken told reporters after meeting with President Xi.

US President Joe Biden's administration says that Chinese aid to Russia's industrial sector has enabled Russia to step up its military attacks on Ukraine and threaten European security. Chinese officials were similarly blunt, stating that while relations between the two countries had generally improved from the low point reached last year due to the downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon over the US, relations remained strained.

"The two countries should help each other succeed rather than hurt each other, they should look for things they have in common and put aside their differences instead of engaging in vicious competition, and they should do what they say instead of they say one thing and do the complete opposite" – Xi told Blinken in an undisguised accusation of the US being hypocritical.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang said China is fed up with US interference in human rights, Taiwan and the South China Sea, and US efforts to limit trade and other relations with other countries. He urged the US not to cross "red lines" on China's sovereignty, security and development interests.

China's official news agency Xinhua formulated this with the words: "If the SD always views China as their main rival, Sino-American relations will always be in trouble." However, Blinken advocated for commitment at all levels.

He announced an agreement to talk with China about the dangers of artificial intelligence, but lamented the small number of American students studying in China -- fewer than 900, compared to 290,000 Chinese students in the US.

He said that both sides want to increase that number, and the US has an interest in that, because future leaders, if they want to cooperate and solve major problems and overcome the differences between the two countries, should know and understand each other's language, culture and history.

But he added that the Chinese will probably see it as a veiled criticism. "I told my Chinese interlocutors during this visit that if they want to attract more Americans to China, especially students, the best way is to create conditions that allow learning to flourish anywhere - free and open consideration of ideas, access to a large number of sources of information, ease travel, confidence in the safety and privacy of participants," said Blinken.

Taiwan yesterday reported renewed Chinese military activity near the island after 12 aircraft flew over the sensitive center line of the Taiwan Strait, a day after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrapped up a visit to China.

Democratic Taiwan has faced increased military pressure from China, which views the island as its territory. The Taiwanese government rejects this. Taiwan's defense ministry said the planes were engaged in "joint combat readiness patrols" with Chinese warships, adding that Taiwanese planes and ships responded "appropriately". He did not give details. China's defense ministry did not return calls from Reuters on Saturday.

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