At least the USA and China are talking

BEIJING – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his just-concluded latest speech Visit to China with a stop at a record store in Beijing, where he bought albums by Taylor Swift and Chinese rocker Dou Wei – a symbolic nod to the intercultural exchange and understanding he had promoted over three days.

Music, he said late Friday on the Li-Pi store on the technique to the airport, “is the best connection, regardless of geographical location.”

But Swifts “Midnight” and Dou Wei’s “Black Dream” could represent that just as well seemingly insoluble divisions within the deeply troubled relationship between the world's two largest economies, for which either side publicly and privately blame one another.

Blinken and his Chinese interlocutors, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, all pointed to those divides while emphasizing the virtues of keeping channels of communication open to administer these differences and avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments.

Blinken went out of his technique to emphasize the importance of US-China exchanges in any respect levels. In ShanghaiHe ate at a famous soup dumpling restaurant, attended a Chinese basketball playoff game, and visited American and Chinese students on the New York University branch. At his official meetings with Chinese leaders in Beijing, he repeatedly spoke of improvements in relations over the past yr.

But he also emphasized that the US has serious and growing concerns about China's policies and practices on the local, regional and global levels. And he said the US wouldn’t back down. “America will always defend our core interests and values,” he said.

He struck several times Chinese overproduction from electric vehicles That threatened to adversely affect U.S. and European automakers, prompting complaints that China just isn’t doing enough to stop the production and export of synthetic opioid precursors.

At one point he bluntly warned that China wouldn’t collapse Support for Russia According to the Biden administration, as Russia's defense industrial sector has increased its attacks on Ukraine and threatened Europe's security, the United States would act to stop it. “I've made it clear that if China doesn't address this issue, we will,” Blinken told reporters after a gathering with Xi.

Chinese officials were similarly blunt, saying that while relations had generally improved since their low point last yr following the downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon, they remained tense.

“The two countries should help each other succeed instead of hurting each other, look for common ground and restrain differences instead of engaging in vicious competition, and match words with actions instead of saying one thing but doing the opposite.” said Xi to Blinken – a veiled accusation of US hypocrisy.

Foreign Minister Wang said China is fed up with US interference Human rightsTaiwan and the South China Sea and efforts to limit its trade and relations with other countries. “Negative factors in the relationship are still increasing and intensifying, and the relationship is facing all kinds of disturbances,” he said. He called on the US to not “cross China’s red lines on China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.”

Or as Yang Tao, director general of North American and Oceania affairs on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, put it, in response to the official Xinhua news agency: “If the United States always views China as its main competitor, China-US relations will continue to do so. “Be faced with problems and many problems.”

Still, Blinken pushed for engagement at every level. He announced a brand new agreement to speak with China concerning the threats posed by artificial intelligence, but complained a Lack of American students There are fewer than 900 currently studying in China, in comparison with greater than 290,000 Chinese within the United States. He said either side need to increase that number.

“We have an interest on this because if our future leaders – be it in government, be it in business, civil society, climate, technology and other areas – will have the option to work together after they need to. “To be able to solve big problems, they must know and understand each other's language, culture and history if they want to be able to overcome our differences,” he said. But he added a caveat that the Chinese would likely see as a barb.

These are problems that neither Taylor Swift nor Dou Wei can overcome.

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