Blinken not welcome in Beijing

Using a weather balloon as a save face excuse! The Diplomat: Amid Reports of Blinken Visit, China Remained Ambivalent. Sections of China’s officialdom and academia are adamant that the U.S. secretary of state should not be welcome in Beijing. 用氣象氣球作為挽回面子的藉口!外交官雜誌: 在布林肯訪問的報導中,中國仍然矛盾。中國部分官員和學術界堅持認為,美國國務卿不應在北京受到歡迎

In a clear signal that Beijing is not at all warmed up to the visit, just two days before Blinken’s scheduled arrival in Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry uncharacteristically refused to offer any details about his trip. Instead, the ministry refused to confirm the visit was happening at all. Replying to several specific queries regarding Blinken’s visit to China during a press briefing on February 3, the spokesperson flatly denied any knowledge, saying, “I have nothing to offer at the moment.”

That’s hardly surprising, considering the political context. Late last week, U.S. Air Force General Michael Minihan predicted that the United States and China could go to war in 2025 over Taiwan. Likewise, a letter signed by several Republican senators last Wednesday and addressed to the secretary of state specifically reminded Blinken of China’s aggression against Taiwan and India.

In China, both at the official level and among academics, two factors explain the opposition to Blinken’s visit. First, there is a dislike for Blinken personally. There is a strong belief that, having spent long years as a Democratic Party staffer, Blinken is not cut out for the job of conceptualizing and implementing foreign policy. Besides that, Blinken is viewed in Beijing as someone who not only has embraced the policy of containing China but is also an embodiment of ideological rigidity.

More broadly, Chinese experts are ill-disposed toward the United States as a whole at the moment, referring to latest three “anti-China” moves by the Biden administration – supplying arms to Taiwan, the complete U.S. ban on exports of American technology to Huawei, and the ban on the sale of chips to Beijing. Against that hostile backdrop, commentators in China are ridiculing the U.S. government and Blinken for holding talks at all.

If what some Chinese experts are claiming is true, the real purpose of the Blinken-Yellen visit is to make China agree to buy a large amount of U.S. goods and thereby help the Biden administration reduce the trade deficit. But whatever the agenda, the trip has been derailed by the spy balloon incident, and perhaps by deeper-seated reticence within Beijing.

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