Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Photo: fmprc.gov.cn
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has no plans to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, although both will attend the 55th meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers and related meetings in Phnom Penh this week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua said Chunying, announced on Tuesday. while tensions mount over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosis’ visit to the island of Taiwan.
Observers take the decision as a signal that reflects the gravity of the visit and China’s outrage at the US provocations.
Wang is expected to attend meetings with foreign ministers from ASEAN and East Asian countries Wednesday through Friday, which will focus on regional security and development and how to deal with the rising uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine crisis , and the US are pushing ahead with their Indo-Pacific strategy, which threatens regional stability.
Wang is announced to attend the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Hua, from Wednesday to Friday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Wang will visit Cambodia at the invitation of Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Hua added. She revealed that Wang will meet and exchange views with foreign ministers from countries including Laos, Brunei, Japan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand on issues of common interest, and that Wang does not plan to meet Blinken, who is also scheduled to attend at US-ASEAN Ministerial meetings, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum from Wednesday to Friday.
Chinese experts see the failure of Wang and Blinken to meet as evidence of the gravity of Pelosi’s visit and China’s anger at the US provocation.
“Wang no longer needs to meet and talk to Blinken. We said what we had to say, did what we were supposed to do…the US got all the information it needs, but Blinken has insisted on making false comments,” said Zhang Tengjun, deputy director of the Asia Department -Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.
During a news conference Monday at the UN headquarters in New York, Blinken told reporters: “If the speaker chooses to visit [Taiwan] and China trying to create some kind of crisis or escalate tensions in some other way, that would fall to all of Beijing,” Blinken said.
In response, Hua said at the conference on Tuesday that the world clearly sees that it was the US that first started the provocation and caused tension, so the US should take full responsibility for the situation.
She also singled out Blinken’s remarks to show US hegemony and gangster logic, which is “I can challenge you at my will, but you can neither resist nor defend yourself.”
Zhang noted that what the US Secretary of State said shows he has no sincerity and desire to listen to China and has completely ruined the atmosphere for a possible meeting between Blinken and Wang.
This week’s events mark the first in-person meetings between foreign ministers from ASEAN countries after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Straits Times reported. It said ASEAN foreign ministers will also meet their counterparts from 11 key dialogue partners this week – Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, the UK and the US.
Experts said the sequence of meetings comes against a special backdrop as regional countries face bumps in the road due to COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis, in addition to the pressure they face when the US expands its Indo-Pacific – Advance strategy.
Asked about China’s expectations for the series of meetings, Hua said China’s cooperation with ASEAN and East Asian countries continues its great momentum. China always regards ASEAN as an important force in maintaining regional stability and promoting regional economic integration.
China hopes the series of meetings can cement all-party consensus, strengthen cooperation among all countries, and give new impetus to regional peace and stability, Hua said.
Xu Liping, a research associate in Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said that ASEAN should play the role of mediator in the turbulent situation, as it is not easily swayed by specific countries and always upholds its strategic autonomy. This attitude, Xu said, can help the region and the world to focus on cooperation rather than confrontation.
Experts believe Pelosi’s visit casts a shadow over the meetings and the long-held peace and stability of ASEAN and East Asian countries. Pelosi, who began her Asia tour in Singapore and Malaysia on Monday, will also travel to South Korea and Japan.
Xu called the trip a “troublesome trip and an inappropriate political farce,” as it is detrimental to regional stability to hype up the Taiwan issue when the Ukraine crisis is unresolved.
ASEAN and East Asian countries value peace and stability more than anything because it guarantees the region’s rapid development, according to Xu, who notes that these countries see Pelosi’s visit as a great deal of uncertainty in the region.
In a meeting with Pelosi on Monday, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told the US delegation the importance of stable US-China relations for peace and security in the region, Singapore’s foreign ministry quoted Reuters as saying.