TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Senior diplomats from the United States and China held “frank and productive” talks in Beijing and agreed to keep lines of communication open to prevent tensions from escalating into conflict, officials said Tuesday. .
Daniel Krittenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was the highest-ranking US official to visit China on Monday as tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated over the downing of a Chinese spy balloon on US soil in early February. had increased.
At the time, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a planned visit to China, and Beijing has since rebuffed attempts at official contact, although two senior defense officials from the two countries held a forum in Singapore over the weekend. Had a brief conversation.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Krittenbrink and Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu “maintained clear, constructive and fruitful communication on promoting the improvement of China-US relations and the proper management of differences.”
Beijing said it reiterated “its formal position on Taiwan” – the self-governing island that China claims and maintains as part of its territory, if necessary – and other issues should it be forcibly captured and both The parties agreed to maintain communication.
The US State Department also said that the two officials had “frank and productive discussions as part of an ongoing effort to keep the lines of communication open and build on recent high-level diplomacy between the two countries.”
The US Navy on Sunday complained about “unsafe interactions” in the Taiwan Strait after a Chinese warship came within 137 meters of an American destroyer. And last month, a Chinese fighter jet came dangerously close to a US reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, where Beijing shares territorial claims with other countries.
CIA Director William Burns reportedly made a secret visit to Beijing last month as a further sign of the two sides’ interest in restoring communications through various channels.