Over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with three leaders in China, including President Xi Jinping.

“I came to Beijing to strengthen high-level challenges of communication, to make clear our positions and intentions in areas of disagreement, and to explore areas where we might work together when our interests align on shared transnational challenges,” Blinken said in a statement released by the U.S. Department of State. “And we did all of that.”

Blinken described the visit as “constructive” in a statement, while Xi said the discussions were “candid” and reaffirmed the country would follow through with agreements made in Bali last year.

The visit wasn’t expected to yield many (if any) immediate results, as tensions are still high between the two countries after a Chinese balloon entered U.S. airspace earlier this year.

“It’s not a matter of one trip and one conversation,” a senior State Department official told Politico. The meeting’s main objective was “to disabuse China of some of the misperceptions it has about what we’re trying to do even as we’re also very clear about our intent when it comes to standing up for our interests and trying to advance our values.”

Keeping communication open was a key objective for the U.S., which was shown in Blinken’s request to reopen military-to-military communications with China — a request which Chinese officials rejected, per The New York Times.

Other topics discussed included the U.S.’s nonsupport for Taiwan’s independence, continued discussion on climate change and the U.S. fentanyl crisis, per The Washington Post.

  1. The Taiwan tension.

In a debrief, Blinken reiterated that the United States doesn’t “support Taiwan Independence” and that the country has upheld its responsibilities made in the Taiwan Relations Act — including “making sure Taiwan has the ability to defend itself.” Basically, he said, the U.S. is “opposed to any unilateral changes of the status quo by either side.”

2. Climate change and commerce talks.

The Times reported that Blinken’s welcome was a little less welcoming compared to other meetings Xi has had with U.S. officials or public figures. For example, the secretary of state was not allowed to sit next to the president like his predecessors.

It was a requirement to have him visit before Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and commerce secretary Gina Raimondo could visit the country — the people China actually wanted to see to ease their troubled economy. Yellen and Raimondo, along with John Kerry of the climate envoy, are expected to travel later this summer to the country, according to the paper.

3. China’s role in the U.S. fentanyl crisis.

As the top killer in the United States, synthetic opioids were a high point of discussion for Blinken, reported the Post. Though most of the finished products enter the United States from Mexico, precursor chemicals for the drug originate from China.

“I made clear that we need much greater cooperation to address this critical issue,” Blinken said during the conference.

No solid action was taken on this issue but the topic wasn’t entirely shot down by China. They are continuing to “explore setting up a working group” to “shut off the flow of precursor chemicals,” Blinken said.

“We have no illusions about the challenges of managing this relationship. There are many issues on which we profoundly, even vehemently disagree,” Blinken said. “We will always take the best course of action to advance the interests of the American people. But the United States has a long history of successfully managing complicated, consequential relationships through diplomacy.”

Related
Mitt Romney presses White House for China policy while administration extends olive branch
Opinion: A war against Taiwan would not go down easily