The Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Xie Feng, held a meeting in the Pentagon with Ely Ratner, the US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs.
In the meeting, Amb. Feng said that Washington should take “concrete actions” towards deepening bilateral relations. Speaking at the meeting, Amb. Feng asked the U.S. to remove all obstacles mitigating China-U.S. mutual cooperation. This, he said, will help improve relations between the two countries.
While speaking on the principles upon which the Chinese conduct diplomatic relations, Amb. Feng said that for the advancement of healthy cooperation between them, the “principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation outlined by Chinese President Xi Jinping” must take precedence.
According to him, the principles as enunciated by President Jinping “represent the fundamental and right way for China and the United States to get along in the new era.”
Amb. Feng believed that the topical issues in the South China Sea and the Taiwan question should be treated as sensitive. He then asked that the U.S. and other countries handle them “in accordance with the principles enshrined in the three China-US joint communiqués.”
In a statement made available after the meeting, the two representatives, Amb. Feng and Ratner, agreed that both countries will work “in the same direction to gradually bring the state-to-state and mil-to-military relations back to the right track.”
Meanwhile, the Defense Department has yet to release an official statement on the outcome of the meeting.
The Chinese government had in the past suspended all high-level communication with the U.S. Army and its superintendent, the Pentagon. And in May, China rejected an official request from the Pentagon seeking a military meeting in Singapore.
In June, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, reinforced the need for Beijing to reopen channels of communication between the two armed forces.
“It is absolutely vital that we have these kinds of communications, military-to-military. That imperative was only underscored by recent incidents that we saw in the air and on the sea,” Blinken said.
It remains to be seen how far reaching the meeting held in the Pentagon will go in bridging the gulf in relations between the two countries, especially now that China’s activities in the South China Sea have increased as it looks towards Taiwan.