US, China top diplomats meet to contain high tensions on Taiwan

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NEW YORK: The top US and Chinese diplomats met Friday (Sep 23) in New York as soaring tensions show signs of easing, but Beijing issued a new warning against support for Taiwan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shook hands but only exchanged pleasantries before the cameras before sitting down with aides on the sidelines of the annual United Nations summit.

It was their first encounter since extensive talks in July in Bali where both sides appeared optimistic for more stability.

One month later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, infuriating Beijing which staged exercises seen as a trial run for an invasion of the self-governing democracy.

In a sign of smoother ties, Wang also met in New York with US climate envoy John Kerry despite China's announcement after Pelosi's visit that it was curbing cooperation on the issue, a key priority for Biden.

Blinken went ahead with the talks despite paring down his schedule following the death of his father on Thursday. Immediately before seeing Wang, he met with his counterparts from Australia, Japan and India, the so-called "Quad" which Beijing has denounced as an attempt to isolate it.

"Our four countries know very well the significant challenges that we face, as well as the opportunities that are before us, demand more than ever that we work together," Blinken said as the ministers signed an agreement on cooperation in disaster relief.

TAIWAN THE "BIGGEST RISK"

President Joe Biden in an interview aired Sunday said he was ready to intervene militarily if China uses force in Taiwan, once again deviating from decades of US ambiguity.

In a speech before his talks with Blinken, Wang reiterated anger over US support for Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.

"The Taiwan question is growing into the biggest risk in China-US relations. Should it be mishandled it is most likely to devastate bilateral ties," he said at the Asia Society think tank.

"Just as the US will not allow Hawaii to be stripped away, China has the right to uphold the unification of the country," he said.

He denounced the US decision to "allow" the Taiwan visit by Pelo...

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