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No Major Advances Expected From Blinken’s China Trip Next Week: Analysts

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Washington DC: At a time when China’s friendliness towards Russia is seen as a growing threat among many nations, the upcoming visit of the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to Beijing next week, is not seen as something that would do much to agendas the two countries have on their plates, according to analysts.

The meeting, expected by the US as a ‘breakthrough’ on various prospects, according to the analysts, would not have any major advances emerge from it, reported Voice of America. Blinken’s second visit to China coincides with the US warning China not to support Russia in its conflict with Ukraine, given that Chinese companies are directly supplying vital parts to Russia’s defence industry.

The State Department lists counternarcotics, enhancing military-to-military communication, holding discussions on the hazards and safety of artificial intelligence, and looking at methods to improve people-to-people ties as additional urgent issues on the agenda. According to Voice of America, a senior State Department official said in a briefing Friday that the US is “realistic and clear-eyed about the prospects of breakthroughs” on any of the issues on the agenda.

However, some analysts said they do not anticipate any major advances to emerge from the talks. This week, China was asked to cease transferring dual-use materials and weapons components that Russia is utilising to boost its military manufacturing by the foreign ministers of the G7, the world’s seven most developed nations, in a joint statement.

Significant amounts of microelectronics, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missile technology, and nitrocellulose–which Russia uses to create weapon propellants–are among the goods, Voice of America reported citing US sources. Meanwhile, on Friday, Blinken had told reporters at a press conference in Capri, Italy, and said, “China can’t have it both”ways”–helping Russia and keeping good relations with Europe.”

During a virtual briefing on Friday, a senior State Department official informed VOA that the US is “prepared to take steps” when needed against Chinese companies that “seriously undermine security in both Ukraine and Europe.” Analysts, as per Voice of America, speculate that the US may impose sanctions on Chinese institutions that assist in the transfer of these items.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Chinese nationals and businesses in the past that give Russia tangible support, and it is seeking the help of its European allies to implement similar restrictions now. However, China, as usual, has disregarded what its representatives called an attempt by Washington to “smear” or “attack the normal relations between China and Russia.”

China asserts that, in compliance with legal regulations, it controls the shipment of materials with dual uses to Russia. Mao Ning, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, stated during a recent briefing that the United States “should not harm the legitimate rights and interests of China and Chinese companies. The goal of the recent wave of high-level diplomacy aimed at stabilising China-US ties is Blinken’s visit to China.

It comes after US President Joe Biden’s discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Woodside, California, in November; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s recent visit to Guangzhou; and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Munich in February. Blinken’s trip to China is slated for a few weeks before Taiwan’s incoming president, Lai Ching-te, takes office on May 20.

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