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May 02, 2024 / 18:01

A new normalcy in the US-China relationship

All existing problems in the US-China relationship remained unsolved after Blinken's new China visit.

The political atmosphere was generally not favorable for the second China trip of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken within almost a year. His China visit followed the second travel of US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen and a new video talks round between US's and China's defense ministers. All that indicated and implied positive signs for the very complicated and troublesome relationship between the US and China since long time. But almost just before the US foreign minister has had left the US heading to China, the US Congress approved and US president Joe Biden signed new legislative acts providing US military aids for Taiwan and possibly banning TikTok from the US market - moves as like as direct blows on China's face and international reputation which China couldn't forgive and would surely soon retaliate. Antony Blinken's China visit was doomed to failure before it begun. All existing problems in the US-China relationship remained unsolved after his new China visit.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting China’s leader, Xi Jinping. Photo: US Department of State

The list of these problems is long and impressive. They all are domestically sensitive for both and hardly to be settled not only for now but also for times coming: US's deep concerns about China's possible support for Russia and its war in the Ukraine, issues relating China's behavior toward Taiwan and the South China Sea, human rights and overproductivities  in China, China's production and export of synthetic opioid precursors..., China's protest and angry against US's military aid for Taiwan, legislative and administrative attacks against TikTok and other Chinese firms in the US...

All what the US foreign minister expressed in China in his talks with Chinese representatives and all what they said to him during his recent China visit weren't new. They were all old and well-known argumentations and accusations from both sides.

Therefore, the most interesting thing from the newest high-leveled talks between China and the US in China was that both sides seemed to agree with each other to create a new normalcy in their bilateral relationship which is characterized by three following aspects.

First, both sides are very well aware of the impossibility to solve all existing (and lasting) problems in their bilateral relationship at present. They do really not to intend to improve it. They only want to maintain direct high-leveled dialogues in order to prevent further deteriorations. That is why the Chinese side didn't help Antony Blinken to achieve a successful China visit and Blinken himself didn't disappointed with his visit results. It is now not the right time for any significant improvement in the US-China relationship.

Second, the US-China relationship is now driven more by domestic necessities and urgencies than by actual worldpolitics. A main important reason might be the coming presidential election in the US. China doesn't want to be centered on in the election campaigns in the US and the Joe Biden administration doesn't want its China policy to be an Achilles' heel in his race to stay in the White House after the coming presidential election.

Third, in the coming days and months, China and the US will continue to exchange high-leveled bilateral visits and dialogues, including a further meeting between US president Joe Biden and China's president Xi Jinping. But any major breakthrough is not expected. Nothing new and special will be the normal state in the US-China relationship for at least a not short time ahead.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Hanoi Times.