US, China officials hold talks

MUNICH — Top diplomats from the US and China on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, held a “candid and constructive” discussion on issues vexing their strained relations over Taiwan, the situation in the South China Sea, Russia’s war against Ukraine and synthetic opioids, the State Department said.

The meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference marked the latest and highest-level meeting between the two sides since US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks late last year in California.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken emphasized the importance of maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait as well as expanding on nascent counternarcotics efforts.

Blinken also raised concerns about China’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base that Washington sees as helping Moscow’s military operations against Ukraine.

“The two sides had a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in the relationship,” Miller said.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wang called on the US to remove sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals.

Wang emphasized that Washington’s policy of “de-risking” economically from Beijing “has become ‘de-Sinicizing,’ ‘building a tall fence’ and ‘de-coupling from China’” and “will come back to bite the US itself,” according to a Ministry readout Saturday morning, Feb. 17.

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