Blinken to meet with Chinese FM in Rome

Published : 31 Oct 2021 10:00 PM | Updated : 01 Nov 2021 04:28 PM
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Sunday in Rome with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the State Department said, in only their second face to face session amid acute tensions between the two powers.

The meeting in Rome, where both diplomats were attending the G20 summit, is listed on Blinken's public schedule for Sunday. 

It will be the first between Blinken and Wang since a stormy session in Alaska back in March during which the Chinese delegation berated the American side as TV cameras rolled. 

Tensions are high between the world's two biggest economies on a plethora of fronts, including trade, human rights, Taiwan and the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this week Washington ordered China Telecom Americas to discontinue its services within 60 days -- ending nearly two decades of operations in the country and piling further strain on relations between the two countries. 

US President Joe Biden has pressed ahead with a hardline trade policy against Beijing broadly in line with that of his predecessor Donald Trump, whose bombastic approach sent tensions soaring. Tensions have also soared over Taiwan in recent months. China claims the self-governing, US-allied Island as its own, and vows it will retake it one day -- by force if necessary. Earlier this month Washington confirmed that a small number of US troops are on the island to help with training. 

On Tuesday, Blinken called for Taiwan to be allowed greater involvement in UN agencies, though Beijing insisted it has no place on the world's diplomatic stage. 

Biden has also rebuked Beijing over its sabre-rattling on Taiwan.  He said this month the US was ready to defend the island from a Chinese invasion -- though the White House quickly walked back those comments amid warnings from Beijing, continuing a strategy of ambiguity on whether it would intervene militarily if China attacked.

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