White House adviser Jake Sullivan holds ‘candid’ talks with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held “candid” talks on Taiwan and the Russian war in Ukraine with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for two days, according to announcements from Washington and Beijing on Sunday, the second such meeting in four months.

Both sides called the two days of talks in Malta on Saturday and Sunday “candid, substantive and constructive” and said the two officials committed to further high-level dialogue, but did not say when the next round would be or who would lead them.

“The two sides discussed key issues in the US-China bilateral relationship, global and regional security issues, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and cross-Strait issues, among other topics,” the White House said in a readout. “The United States noted the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Like most other Western countries, the US does not recognise Taiwan as an independent country, although Washington is committed by its Taiwan Relations Act to support the self-ruled island’s defence capability.

Beijing’s announcement, which called for “strategic communication focusing on stabilizing and improving Sino-US relations” stressed differences over Taiwan.

white house adviser jake sullivan holds candid talks with top chinese diplomat wang yi 1
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the US must implement its commitment not to support “Taiwan independence”. Photo: AP

“Wang Yi emphasized that the Taiwan issue is the first insurmountable red line in Sino-US relations,” Wang’s department said. “The United States must abide by the three Sino-US joint communiqués and implement its commitment not to support ‘Taiwan independence’.


“China’s development has strong endogenous driving force and follows inevitable historical logic. It cannot be stopped,” it continued. “The Chinese people’s legitimate right to development cannot be deprived.”

No further details were provided about what conclusions the two sides drew on the subjects covered.

Biden holds highest-level talks with China’s leaders in months

A continuation of high-level, bilateral engagement that resumed after a deep freeze earlier this year, the latest round of talks follows recent trips by four other top officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and John Kerry, Biden’s top envoy on climate.

Tension around Taiwan and assurances by US officials that Washington is not trying to decouple from China economically or contain the country’s influence, have topped the agendas for all of these meetings.

Yet both sides have made recent moves that the other sees as upsetting the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.


The drills coincided with joint sea and air training conducted by the PLA’s Shandong aircraft carrier in the western Pacific Ocean since early this week. According to earlier reports it involved a total of 42 naval ships from the Eastern and Southern Theatre Commands.


The US Congress and the Biden administration have been pushing measures to strengthen economic ties with Taiwan.

US Senate committee passes bill to cut taxes on Taiwanese firms operating in US

US legislation that would establish the first US-Taiwan taxation agreement – and possibly benefit TSMC and other Taiwan companies operating in the US – passed the Senate Finance Committee unanimously in a special session on Thursday. Among other benefits, the bill would cut by two-thirds the withholding tax rate on income earned in the US by qualified Taiwanese entities.


Separately, Biden administration officials have held multiple rounds of negotiations on the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, which was launched last year, yielding agreements that include allowances for electronic documentation and payments, measures meant to speed up trade between the two markets.

With Wang scheduled to visit Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week, and Chinese President Xi Jinping skipping the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, no high-level US-China engagement will take place at the annual event.

Biden is expected to meet Xi at the Apec leaders’ summit in San Francisco in November.


South China Morning Post

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