In their recent conversation, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and People’s Republic of China Foreign Minister Wang Yi each expressed their respective positions. However, the conversation also revealed a new direction in U.S.-China relations for the upcoming years. Next year, Blinken will visit China to lay the groundwork for the second in-person meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. In fact, the main purpose of this recent talk between Blinken and Wang was to let each party understand the other’s position before the meeting next year.
First, Blinken and Wang both believe that relations between the U.S. and China are of the utmost importance for the two countries’ international relations. Their conversation revealed that any notion of cutting ties between the two is entirely unfounded because the U.S. and China need each other. Second, although the two cannot cut ties, high levels of competition are unavoidable. Still, both expressed that competition will not and need not mean that the two sides are moving toward a conflict. To prevent competition from turning into a conflict or even a war, both sides agreed that they must establish the guardrail of intense communication to resolve differences.
Third, Taiwan is a critical central interest for China. The U.S. hopes that both sides of the strait can avoid a war, restart dialogue and move toward a peaceful resolution. When Biden and Xi met for the first time in November, the two hoped to draw red lines for the sake of their relationship. While President Biden suggested that China and Taiwan avoid war and restart dialogue, Xi did not respond directly. In this recent phone call, the U.S. and China made clear commitments to those red lines, which may be objectives that both parties strive for in the future.
Fourth, before and after the Group of 20 summit, participating world leaders flocked to Xi, hoping to strengthen economic and trade relations with China. Xi was like a kingpin in his interactions with them, except when he interacted with Biden. America’s military strength and high-tech might are the main reasons China takes the U.S. especially seriously.
All communist countries, as well as similar authoritarian countries, view international relations through the lens of strength, and naturally, China is no exception. This is why it is especially respectful toward the U.S. The U.S. requested that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited invest in factories in the U.S. to fill in gaps in the American chip manufacturing supply chain. Because China is far behind the U.S. in terms of chip development, of course it hopes that the U.S. will leave opportunities for China in the chip supply chain instead of ruthlessly cutting it out.
Fifth, the conversation between Blinken and Wang revealed that the two countries are going to continue developing even more opportunities for cooperation. The U.S. and China have already agreed to restart national defense talks, as well as to continue cooperation on climate change issues. During their conversation, Blinken and Wang revealed that the two countries might possibly cooperate in strategic pandemic prevention.
Ever since the White Paper Revolution, authorities in Beijing have loosened their COVID-zero policy. However, according to a medical research report from Fudan University in Shanghai, after the COVID-zero policy is dropped, China could see more than 1.5 million coronavirus deaths in China. Therefore, Wang expressed hope that China and the U.S. could strengthen cooperation in strategic pandemic prevention so the Chinese people can resume normal life even earlier and the Chinese economy can recover.
Finally, China needs the U.S. and the rest of the world, just as the U.S. and the rest of the world need China. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, the global supply chain has either been unbalanced or broken. Many strong nations regard protecting their own critical industry supply chains as an important national security treasure. Therefore, many entrepreneurs and experts have proposed that the era of globalization and liberalization has passed. Looking at the political and economic relations between the U.S. and China, as well as other large countries, globalization and liberalization have a new look because of unbalanced supply chains and restructured and rebuilt chains. Still, the era of globalization and liberalization has yet to completely ebb.