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China’s Yang Jiechi and Pompeo Meet in New York, Issue No Statements

Aug. 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi held talks in New York on Aug. 13, according to South China Morning Post. A brief statement released by Xinhua news agency said Yang had exchanged views with Pompeo on the relationship between China and the U.S., without elaborating. The U.S. State Department also released a brief statement without giving details about the meeting.

The SCMP cites Shen Dingli, a professor of U.S. studies at Fudan University as commenting that the meeting was an indication that both sides were seeking to prevent their confrontations spiraling out of control. “Though the two countries seem to be enlarging their scope of differences, they still understand the need to control and narrow such differences whenever possible,” Shen said, suggesting that the situation in Hong Kong and the year-long trade war were on the agenda. “On Hong Kong, China would ask the U.S. not to intervene, while the U.S. would ask China to restrain,” he said.

Wu Xinbo, director of Fudan University’s Centre for American Studies, commented that rather than trade, which is not the responsibility of either diplomat, the meeting represented a show of goodwill after disagreements over Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan further deteriorated the China-U.S. relationship. “This meeting will not be very useful, but shows that both sides can still manage to talk,” Wu said. “Even though Donald Trump has said China can handle the situation in Hong Kong and he is not interested in the city, other politicians are seeking to intervene in it. Trump cannot control them and will not stop them.”

Wu was referring to Trump’s comments on Aug. 13 when he said the situation in Hong Kong was “tricky,” but he hoped it would work out for everybody, including China. He also tweeted that the Chinese government was moving troops to the border of Hong Kong, citing U.S. intelligence.

Clayton Dube, director of the University of Southern California U.S.-China Institute, said the Yang-Pompeo talks would be focused on Hong Kong, North Korea and Iran. “The fact that the exchange of views was not characterized by either side as useful or constructive suggests each simply made sure the other understood their point of view,” Dube said.

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