U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that he and senior Chinese officials have agreed to stabilize bilateral ties by increasing high-level communications, but there is "a lot more work to do."
Speaking to the press in Beijing following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and talks with senior Chinese officials, Blinken said that the United States has no "illusions" about the challenges of managing its difficult relationship with China.
"Progress is hard. It takes time and it's not the product of one visit," he said. "My hope and expectation is we will have better communication going forward. That's not going to solve every problem between us, but it is critical to responsibly managing the relationship."
Blinken said U.S concerns over a number of issues associated with China, including its "provocative actions" in the Taiwan Strait, as well as in the South and East China seas, and human rights violations, were raised in two days of talks in the Chinese capital from Sunday.
Regarding self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as part of its territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary, he said that the United States does not support the island's independence.
At the same time, Blinken, the first U.S. secretary of state to visit China since 2018, said he had made it clear that "we oppose any unilateral change to the status quo."
Blinken also said he repeatedly raised throughout his two-day trip the importance of restoring military-to-military communication channels to reduce the risk of miscalculation.
"At this moment, China has not agreed to move forward with that. I think that's an issue that we have to keep working on," he said. "There's no immediate progress, but it is a continuing priority for us."
China severed military-to-military communication channels with the United States after last August's visit to Taiwan by then House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who became the most senior U.S. official to set foot on the democratic island in a quarter century.