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Top diplomats from US, China hold ‘constructive’ talks on issues dividing them

MUNICH — Top diplomats from the U.S. and China on Friday held a “candid and constructive” discussion on issues vexing their strained relations over Taiwan, the situation in the South China Sea, Russia’s war against Ukraine and synthetic opioids, the State Department said.

The meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference marked the latest and highest-level meeting between the two sides since President Joe Biden held talks late last year in California.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken had emphasized the importance of maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait as well as expanding on nascent counternarcotics efforts. Blinken also raised concerns about China’s support for Russia’s defense industrial base that Washington sees as helping Moscow’s military operations against Ukraine.

“The two sides had a candid and constructive discussion on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in the relationship,” Miller said.

Blinken “reiterated that the United States will stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners,” Miller said, adding that the current situation in the Middle East and with North Korea had also been topics of conversation.

“Both sides recognized the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and (China) across a range of strategic issues, including consultations and high-level meetings in key areas in the coming months,” he said.

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