China’s foreign minister airs concerns in phone call with Blinken ahead of planned visit

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Taipei (AP) — United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shared concerns on a phone call Wednesday ahead of a planned visit by the U.S. official to China meant to shore up relations.

“Spoke tonight with PRC State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang by phone,” Blinken’s official Twitter account read. “Discussed ongoing efforts to maintain open channels of communication as well as bilateral and global issues.”

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on one of its social media pages that Qin urged the United States to respect “China’s core concerns” such as the issue of Taiwan’s self-rule, “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop harming China’s sovereignty, security and development interests in the name of competition.”

Qin noted China-U.S. ties “have encountered new difficulties and challenges” since the beginning of the year, and the two sides’ responsibility is to work together to properly manage differences, promote exchanges and cooperation and stabilize relations.

Blinken is reportedly planning a trip to China this week, after several weeks in which the two countries made diplomatic overtures to one another in an attempt to ease tensions. Blinken had scrapped a trip to Beijing in February after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over U.S. territory.

China has since largely rejected U.S. attempts at official exchanges, but some overtures were made. Last week, Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit China since the downing of the balloon.

In May, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Washington to discuss trade.

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