Amid the geopolitical rift between China and the USA, the top officials from both countries met in Vienna to discuss the arena of tensions and recoup their ties.
Table of Contents
1. What is the latest development?
Over the past few years, Washington and Beijing have engaged in a fierce “war of words”. With the advent of China as a major military and economic power, its transgressions have ballooned, causing strife between the two nations. However, on Thursday, as per the announcements made by the US and China, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese diplomat, Wang Yi met this week in the Austrian capital, Vienna. In the meeting touted as “candid”, a host of issues were discussed, including the soaring Taiwan crisis. Both parties have termed the diplomatic engagement “constructive discussions”.
The two nations primarily discussed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the Chinese support of Russia. The bilateral relations between the top two economies of the world have plummeted to an abysmal stage compared to the Cold War-era rivalry between the Soviet Union and the US. Beijing has time and again reiterated its stance that the US and its allies are provoking Russia and threatening its territorial integrity. At the same time, it has maintained its commitment to act as a non-partisan and fair mediator in the conflict. It has called for discussions and deliberations as a measure to cease all hostilities.
Recently, in an unprecedented move, “Chinese spy balloons” were witnessed in the US sky, inviting sharp condemnation from the US, linking the same with espionage. However, Beijing has asserted that the “balloon incident” was merely an accident.
This incident even led to the cancellation of the trip to Beijing by Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State, US.
2. China-USA rivalry
This thaw in the cold relations between the two nations indicates a potential meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden. Lately, Washington has tightened its stance to counter China’s expansionist policies through cooperation and collaboration with countries in the Indo-Pacific and South China Sea. At one end, regional groupings, including Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE, USA), and AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America), are leveraged to diminish the purview of the might of Beijing.
China and the USA are embroiled in a trade war, in which Washington is asking its allies to stop exporting critical technologies to China, including semiconductors. The Biden administration is chalking out ways to diversify the global supply chain and decrease the world’s dependency on China as a major manufacturing hub. During the pandemic, global trade and commerce were badly affected due to the overdependence on China for critical elements and technologies. Therefore, the aim is to build a robust and transparent supply chain. Beijing has, however, chided the US for threatening its economic growth and development.
3. Global consequences
China and the US have used this meeting to reconcile their differences and spread regional and global peace, security, and stability. Beijing has asserted that the US ought to stop undermining its sovereignty and ditch the cold-war-like mentality that allows multilateralism to flourish.
In the meeting, the US underlined the importance of a fairer and just economic system and wished to cooperate with Beijing on the same.
In the South China Sea, Beijing is involved in maritime boundary disputes with countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. In the Taiwan Strait, Beijing has beefed up its military exercises across the Taiwan Strait, leading to diplomatic tensions in the region that could spur a possible war in the region.
In the Indo-Pacific, China is involved in a border dispute with dominant countries like India, leading to a major fallout in relations. Therefore, the current world order is marred with a plethora of tensions, and a lot remains to be seen if this thaw in the relationship between the top two economies will augur well for international peace and security.