US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Chinese counterpart that China’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine is exacerbating the US-Chinese relations at a time when they are already “beset by rifts and enmity over” a long list of other issues. 

However, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the US for deteriorating their diplomatic relations. He stated that American policy had been thwarted by what he referred to as a mistaken perception of China as a “threat. 

“Many people believe that the United States is suffering from a China-phobia. If such threat-expansion is allowed to grow, the US policy toward China will be a dead end with no way out.”

During their first in-person meeting since October, Blinken said he voiced “deep concern” about China’s standpoint on Russia’s activities in Ukraine. However, he did not believe Beijing’s objections that it is unbiased in the discord. The discussion lasted for five hours. 

The talks had already been scheduled as a concerted effort to take the opportunity to control or moderate the escalating antagonism which has come to characterize recent ties between Washington and Beijing.

China’s Hybrid Position

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, shakes hands with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali Saturday, July 9, 2022. (Source: Stefani Reynolds/Pool Photo via Associated Press)

After the conference, which took place in Bali, Indonesia, Blinken told reporters that they were “concerned” about the People’s Republic of China’s position with Russia. He said it is difficult to be “neutral” in a struggle with an apparent adversary and that he does not believe “China is acting in a way that is neutral.”

The Chinese statement said that both parties had an in-depth exchange of discourse on Ukraine but did not indicate any other relevant information regarding the subject.

The US administration had anticipated that China, which has a “long history” of resisting what it perceives to be meddling in its domestic affairs, would take a posture comparable to that of the US about Russia and Ukraine. But unfortunately, it has not done so, opting for what US officials interpret as a “hybrid position” harmful to the international order founded on principles.

The two leaders got together the day after they both attended a meeting of top diplomats from the G20. But, according to the report, the panel concluded without a joint movement to end Russia’s conflict in Ukraine or a strategy about how to come to terms with the implications of the military conflict on food and energy safety. 

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is seen on the screen during the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia Friday, July 8, 2022. (Source: Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via Associated Press)

Even though the agenda was geared towards global cooperation and food and energy security discussion, G-20 participants are presently meeting in Bali, Indonesia, for discussions around the power struggle in Ukraine.

The US and its allies prioritized finding as many different ways as possible to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin, including vowing to bypass the G-20 summit in Bali this coming November if Putin is not expelled from the gathering, the report said.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, made a statement in which he referred to the United Nations charter to encourage regional cooperation and solidarity.

“It is our responsibility to end the war sooner rather than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not at the battlefield,” he said.

Behind the Dialogue

Blinken is currently in Bangkok, where he is slated to speak on the crisis in Myanmar. He has claimed that he has communicated the grave reservations of the US regarding Beijing’s escalating threatening propaganda and behavior against Taiwan.

Blinken also mentioned that he highlighted issues that concern the US, such as Beijing’s use and occupation of the strategically important South China Sea and the “repression of freedom” in Hong Kong. Other issues include forced labor, the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in Tibet, and the genocide in Xinjiang. 

Blinken also said that he and Wang had a discussion on areas in which there might be opportunities for common ground between the two countries in domains such as the existing climate disaster, food and nutrition security, public health, and the fight against narcotics.

Wang, for his part, emphasized that China and the US need to collaborate to ensure that their alliance would continue to progress in the right direction and on the appropriate path facing the future.