Staff members chat behind Chinese and US flags displayed at the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, on Sept 4, 2021. (PHOTO / AGENCIES)
At a high-level bilateral meeting on Sunday, Beijing warned that the Taiwan question is the most sensitive topic between China and the United States, and it will "cause seismic and overall damage to China-US relations" if it is mishandled.
The warning was issued as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome on the sidelines of G20 Leaders' Summit on Sunday.
Tension has risen again over the situation in the Taiwan Straits as Washington has accused Beijing multiple times of "changing the status quo".
That is not a fact at all, but is "seriously misleading to the international community", Wang said while speaking with Blinken.
Stopping the advancing of a "Taiwan independence" trend helps safeguard peace in the Taiwan Straits, said Wang Yi
Wang underscored that the real status quo of the Taiwan question is that there is only one China in the world, that Taiwan is part of China, and that "the mainland and Taiwan both belong to one and the same country".
History and experiences have proved many times that any change to this status quo "will seriously damage the stability of the Taiwan Straits and even create a crisis in the Straits", he said.
The crux of the current cross-Straits situation is that the Taiwan authorities have repeatedly attempted to break from the one-China framework, and the US' conniving and support for "Taiwan independence" forces are also to blame, he said.
Stopping the advancing of a "Taiwan independence" trend helps safeguard peace in the Taiwan Straits, and China advises the US "to be aware of the serious harm brought by" those who push for "Taiwan independence", Wang said.
China urges the US to pursue the real one-China policy instead of the fake one, fulfill its commitments to China instead of betraying its promises, and honor the one-China policy with actions instead of saying one thing and doing another, Wang said.
During the talks, Blinken reiterated that the US will continue to adhere to the one-China policy, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Diao Daming, an associate professor of US studies at Renmin University of China, noted that the Taiwan question was the main focus of the Sunday talk, and "the tone of the Rome meeting has followed the recent bilateral engagements that seek dialogue rather than confrontation".
"The focus on the Taiwan question itself has proved that the recent interference and hyping by Washington over the Taiwan question seriously hampered the development of China-US ties, undermined the ties' political foundation, damaged the interests of both nations and jeopardized regional and global stability," Diao said.
What Wang said is once again drawing the line for the US, which is necessary for returning the ties to normal, not to mention creating an atmosphere for further exchanges between the two sides, Diao added.
The meeting in Rome marked the second high-level dialogue between the world's top two economies in October.
On Oct 6 in Zurich, Switzerland, a meeting was held between Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had two phone conversations earlier this year, one in February and another in September.
The consensus reached during the two phone calls is that the two countries should restart dialogue and avoid confrontation, Wang said.
The top priority now is for the two sides to earnestly implement the leaders' consensus and "make political preparations and provide necessary conditions for exchanges in the next stage", Wang added.
Wang told Blinken that he is willing to establish regular contacts between them and embark on timely and candid exchanges of views on how to manage and control differences between the two countries and properly resolve any problems.
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The goal is to enhance mutual understanding, eliminate doubts, avoid miscalculation and probe cooperation, according to Wang.
Blinken said the US agrees that the two countries should develop bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual respect, and is willing to maintain communication with China, manage differences in a responsible manner and avoid confrontation or crisis.
Damage control urged
At the talks on Sunday, Wang warned that China-US ties "have suffered an all-around impact" in recent years due to the US' erroneous China policy.
Washington has arbitrarily interfered in China's internal affairs, and the current session of US Congress alone has introduced more than 300 anti-China bills or acts, Wang said.
The US has added more than 900 Chinese entities and individuals to various unilateral sanction lists, seriously hampering normal exchanges between the two countries, he added.
In addition, Washington has worked to formulate various kinds of cliques around the world aimed at suppressing China, and it even pressured many smaller countries, he said.
China clearly opposes such practices, which are not in line with the interests of the two countries' people, the expectations of the international community or the development trajectory of the era, he said.
During the meeting, Wang also expressed China's serious concern over various issues on which he said the US has harmed China's legitimate rights and interests.
He called on the US side to correct its pattern of behavior and work to push China-US relations back to the track of healthy development.
The two sides exchanged views on key topics such as climate change, energy supply, the Iran nuclear issue, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Myanmar and Afghanistan.
Both sides expressed their willingness to maintain dialogue on addressing various global challenges.
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Following Biden's inauguration in January, Wang met with Blinken in Anchorage, Alaska, in March at the China-US high-level dialogue. In addition, senior diplomats from both sides met in Tianjin in July.
Wang said that what the two countries have learned from their contacts in Anchorage, Tianjin and Zurich is that the two sides must respect each other and deal with each other on an equal footing.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeatedly called on the world to prevent division and avoid a new Cold War, he said.
An important lesson drawn by the two countries since the establishment of their diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago is that "cooperation will benefit both, while confrontation will hurt both", Wang said.