Top US, PRC Officials Hold ‘Candid and Productive’ Talks

    Top US, PRC Officials Hold ‘Candid and Productive’ Talks
    Last updated Jun 06, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • Read-outs from both Washington and Beijing on Tuesday confirmed that senior American and Chinese officials had "candid and productive" talks a day earlier in Beijing. The two countries are seeking to maintain open lines of communication amid ongoing tensions.
    • The top US Dept. of State official for Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink — along with NSC Senior Director for China and Taiwan Sarah Beran and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns — met with China's Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Yang Tao, director general of the North American and Oceanian Affairs Department.
    • They debated on the bilateral relationship, cross-Taiwan Strait issues, channels of communications, and other issues according to the US State Dept. The Chinese foreign ministry stated that its officials stated the country's "serious position" on Taiwan and other major issues.
    • This mid-level meeting comes as Washington and Beijing traded barbs on Monday over a maritime incident on Saturday and an air incident last week, with the White House pointing out an alleged increased aggressiveness of China. The PRC accused the US of making "provocations" initially.
    • While efforts to boost communication ramped up last month, including a secret visit to China by CIA Director William Burns, contacts have not extended to the military. China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu reportedly refused to meet US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
    • Meanwhile, in the US, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby downplayed the fact that the latest visit coincided with the 34th anniversary of the deadly Tiananmen Square crackdown following criticism that the Biden admin. had granted a "major coup" to China.


    Pro-China narrative

    If the Biden admin. wants to thaw bilateral relations with Beijing, it should start respecting China's core interests and taking concrete actions to match its words instead of merely engaging in superficial interactions to restore high-level communications. While the US has indeed changed its rhetoric, its true intentions of containing the PRC haven't changed at all.

    Anti-China narrative

    Though the US has been trying to mend ties with China following months of strained relations, the predicted thaw has been obstructed as Beijing adopts a tougher stance concerning tech export controls and demands the dropping of sanctions imposed on its officials and companies. If China remains intransigent — pushing to set its own terms to re-engage with the US — cooling tensions will be very difficult.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 8% chance that there will be active warfare between the US and China before 2027, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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