China ghosts Blinken on rescheduling diplomatic visit amid mounting tensions

Amid the sticking points for Sino-American relations is the matter of Taiwan.

Published: April 5, 2023 5:13pm

Updated: April 5, 2023 5:14pm

China is reportedly rebuffing Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's efforts to reschedule a planned diplomatic visit to the Asian power after he previously cancelled amid tensions over the flight of a suspected spy balloon through U.S. airspace.

Blinken was set to visit Beijing in February, but postponed the trip amid national furor over a suspected Chinese spy balloon flying over the states. The balloon traversed almost the entirety of the country before the military shot it down off the coast of the Carolinas. China was reportedly able to recover sensitive intelligence related to U.S. military sites from the balloon's passage.

Despite that incident, Blinken still seeks to visit the country to stabilize relations. That sentiment, however, no longer appears to be mutual. "What was a two-sided desire to stabilize an increasingly volatile relationship is becoming much more about Washington reaching out and the Chinese government demurring," Politico stated of the situation.

Amid the sticking points for Sino-American relations is the matter of Taiwan. China formally claims control of the island, while the Republic of China that governs it, claims to be the legitimate polity of all China as well. The island's government does not formally claim independence.

Nonetheless, American officials' interactions with Taipei have led to Chinese accusations that the U.S. may back such a separatist movement. Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August of 2022, much to Chinese consternation.

Of more immediate concern, however, is a Wednesday meeting between current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Republic of China President Tsai Ing-wen, which China has criticized, per the outlet.

In a press conference on Wednesday, McCarthy indicated he intended to take a tough stance on China and that he sought to work with Democrats to combat Chinese influence.

"We're going to speak with one voice," he said of the United States and its myriad political factions. He further warned China that it would not deter him from meeting with anyone whom he chose.

"I am the Speaker of the House, there is no place that China is going to tell me where I can go or who I can speak to," he said.

McCarthy said that while he currently has no plans to visit Taiwan, "that doesn't mean I will not go." Such a visit could complicate Blinken's efforts to reach out to China.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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