U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed Thursday Washington's concerns over human rights in China as he met top diplomat Wang Yi in Jakarta amid an intensifying rivalry between the world's two largest economies, a senior U.S. official said.
In addition to expressing concerns regarding the Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang, as well as pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong, Blinken also emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the official said.
In their second meeting in about a month, held on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings, the countries' top diplomats had "candid and constructive discussions" on various issues, including areas of disagreement and potential areas of cooperation, he said.
On the issue related to Taiwan, Wang warned the United States not to interfere in the domestic affairs of China during the meeting with Blinken, according to the country's official Xinhua News Agency.
The two sides agreed to maintain open channels of communication in the weeks and months ahead, with an eye toward holding a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden later this year.
As part of efforts to manage their differences responsibly and reduce the risk of misperception and miscalculation, the two countries have been accelerating talks, with Blinken and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen paying separate visits to Beijing recently.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will travel to China Sunday, while the two countries are also discussing arranging a visit to the Asian country by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, according to Chinese state-run media.
But the official said Wang did not agree to reopen military-to-military lines of communication between the two countries.
Beijing cut the communication channels with Washington following a visit by then House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last August. Communist-led China views the self-ruled democratic island as its own.
Wang is representing China at the ASEAN-related meetings in the Indonesian capital instead of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, who has fallen ill. Wang is ranked above Qin in the Communist-ruled country.