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Blinken urges fair treatment of American companies after US passes bill to ban TikTok, Taiwan aid

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday called on China to provide a level playing field for American businesses as he began a visit aimed at resolving a raft of contentious issues that could jeopardise the newly repaired relationship.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Shanghai Updated on: April 25, 2024 15:50 IST
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Image Source : AP US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Shanghai: Amid the spiralling situation in the Middle East and Biden's administration's latest move to ban Chinese-backed TikTok, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken opened his first full day of meetings in China on Thursday by talking with local government officials in Shanghai. Blinken discussed local and regional issues with Chen Jiang, the Chinese Communist Party secretary of Shanghai. The top US called on China to provide a level playing field for American businesses as he began a visit aimed at resolving a raft of contentious issues that could jeopardise the newly repaired relationship.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that at a meeting with China's top official in Shanghai, Chen Jining, Blinken raised concerns about China's "trade policies and non-market economic practices." Blinken also "stressed that the United States seeks a healthy economic competition with the PRC and a level playing field for U.S. workers and firms operating in China."

The PRC, or People's Republic of China, is the country's official name.

He also planned to speak to students and business leaders before heading to Beijing by train for what are expected to be contentious talks with national officials, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Blinken visit came after US action on Chinese firm

Blinken arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday shortly before US President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion foreign aid package that has several elements likely to anger the Chinese, including $8 billion to counter China’s growing aggressiveness toward Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

It also seeks to force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform.

China has railed against US assistance to Taiwan, the self-governing island that it regards as a renegade province, and immediately condemned the move as a dangerous provocation. It also strongly opposes efforts to force TikTok’s sale.

The mere fact that Blinken is making the trip — shortly after a conversation between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a similar visit to China by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and a call between the US and Chinese defence chiefs — might be seen by some as encouraging, but ties between Washington and Beijing are tense and the rifts are growing wider.

From Russia and Ukraine to Israel, Iran and the broader Middle East as well as Indo-Pacific and trade issues, the US and China are on a series of collision courses that have sparked fears about military and strategic security as well as international economic stability.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Major blow to TikTok: US Senate passes bill forcing parent company ByteDance to sell or face ban

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