China’s Hardline Stance Leaves Blinken Floundering, Biden’s Plea for Military Communication Falls on Deaf Ears

During a meeting between Chinese officials and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Biden administration requested the restoration of direct military communication between China and the United States. Unfortunately, the Chinese President rejected this high-priority request. Despite Blinken’s urging, the Chinese officials refused to reinstate the severed connection.

This is not the first time China has denied Biden’s request, and it probably won’t be the last time. In Sept of 2021, Biden requested an in-person meeting with President Xi. Reuters sources reported that Xi suggested improving the tone and atmosphere of the relationship as a priority before he would agree to such a meeting.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected his proposal to re-establish a military communication channel to prevent any potential conflicts, which has been in place between the US and Russia for several decades. Blinken shared with journalists that he brought up the matter multiple times during his visit to Beijing, but China is not interested in moving forward with the idea.

Last year, the Chinese government canceled military-to-military and diplomatic talks in response to a visit to Taiwan by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The Biden administration has prioritized re-establishing communication as a key goal, according to Blinken.

During a press conference in China that lasted 31 minutes, Blinken emphasized the importance of maintaining military-to-military communication channels. He believes working on this issue and restoring those channels is crucial.

The State Department’s release on Blinken’s meetings highlighted the candid and constructive discussions on various global and regional issues and key priorities in the bilateral relationship. Open communication channels were emphasized to mitigate the risk of misinterpretation and prevent conflict.

Blinken reiterated the United States’ consistent adherence to the one-China policy, which recognizes China as the official diplomatic entity while not extending official recognition to Taiwan. This policy has been a longstanding stance, despite the United States offering unofficial support to Taiwan.

During the meeting, China’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi, criticized American policy, accusing the United States of exaggerating the “China threat theory” and interfering in China’s internal affairs. He specifically mentioned Taiwan and the supply of advanced weaponry from the United States, stating that China has no room for compromise on the matter.

Per China’sMinistry of Foreign Affairs, Blinken’s visit falls at a crucial moment in the relationship between China and the United States. This visit presents an important decision between pursuing dialogue, confrontation, cooperation, or conflict. The statement stressed the need for the United States to respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose any notion of “Taiwan independence.”

During a meeting with Chinese officials, Blinken reported that they have agreed to cooperate on several fronts, one of which is to stop exporting synthetic opioid fentanyl. This drug has contributed to a record-high number of drug overdose deaths in the US, as it is increasingly mixed into non-opioid drugs like cocaine and used in counterfeit medications. Blinken highlighted that fentanyl is the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18-49 and that a joint effort or working group will be explored to stop the flow of precursor chemicals that have fueled this crisis and led to more deaths. Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for not taking stronger action against fentanyl originating in China.

During his press conference, Blinken failed to address significant US priorities, including the investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 1 million Americans.

According to Blinken, the Biden administration has no intention of economically separating from China, unlike Trump, who aims for a rematch in 2024 against Biden. Instead, Blinken emphasized that the US seeks to “derisk” and “diversify” its trade connections. Blinken added that economic engagement between the two countries had grown significantly in the past year by almost $700 billion. According to the Biden Administration, this healthy economic relationship benefits both the United States and China.