The meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese President Xi Jinping could mark the beginning of a new chapter, says China scholar and coordinator Ingrid Daug of the Clingendael China Centre. “But don’t expect too much from it,” she says. “The two are rivals and this visit won’t change that.”
According to D’Hooge, a “floor” was placed within the relationship. “There’s been a downward spiral in recent months,” she explains. ‘While the relationship between China and the United States continued to deteriorate. Now we can say that we have reached the bottom, and that both countries are looking at the possibility of restoring stability to everything again. And this is very important.
She particularly praised China’s position, which made clear through the meeting between Xi and Blinken that it wants to invest in improving mutual relations. “This is a really positive outcome of this visit.”
Especially since Blinken’s visit was originally intended to speak only with diplomats. D’Hooge believed that the fact that it went public so late was a targeted strategy. “They prefer to keep a low profile, always checking how the visit is going,” she explains. Perhaps not all terms have been discussed yet. But it stayed in the air for a while.”
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Especially given that Blinken’s agenda provides room to schedule a visit. “The American diplomats must have known about it before, but nothing was guaranteed when they left for China.”
Paul van Hooft of The Hague Center for Strategic Studies says that if the meeting between Blinken and Xi had not taken place, nothing would have happened in principle. “It was deliberately set up in such a way that if the conditions are not met, no one will lose face,” he explains. “So it wouldn’t have been a catastrophe if the meeting hadn’t happened.” However, this is a good sign, as it indicates that a process has begun again that may lead to more visits from US diplomats.
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