Interview: Top diplomats' meeting "good thing" for consequential China-U.S. ties -- expert

(Xinhua) 14:29, March 18, 2021

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Xinhua) -- It is "a good thing" that top diplomats from China and the United States are to hold a meeting in Alaska, though it may unlikely produce concrete outcomes, a U.S. expert has said.

"This is probably the world's single most important consequential relationship," Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson Center, told Xinhua in a recent interview, noting that this relationship has been rocky in the last four years.

"Even though it isn't clear what the agenda for the meeting is going to be, and it's unlikely that there will be concrete outcomes, it is important to simply start talking," he said.

"I do not have any positive expectations, but I think that's a good thing that they are holding the meeting," he said.

"We understand that we have fundamental differences. But neither side should go in with any illusions that they can change the other countries' basic goals and basic behaviors," he said.

"The question is (that) can we find a way to manage relations despite each other's goals and behaviors that we disapprove of, or that we find inimical to our own interests," he said.

"I think that we need to be frank that this is going to be an extremely difficult long-term set of interactions," the director said.

In his view, this meeting won't be a regular dialogue mechanism right now but the two sides do have common interest. "I'm not optimistic, but I'm certainly not hopeless," he said.

"The two countries continue to cooperate in many ways. We got in the habit of speaking as though all engagement has stopped, and it simply isn't true," the expert said.

"There are full of engagement in the commercial side. Some degree in the academic side, but that's become more difficult. And as the world gets vaccinated, these countries will open with each other's borders to tourists," he added.

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Thursday and Friday in Anchorage, Alaska.

It is the first high-level meeting between the two countries since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January.


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