We’re still talking with China. And thank goodness for that.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, just held two days of talks in Vienna with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, the Communist leadership’s top foreign-affairs official.
Our nation won’t always see eye-to-eye with the Chinese Communist Party, both it pays for both sides to try to understand each other. That opens the door to possible improvements in relations and helps keep any sort of a misunderstanding from spiraling out of control.
The White House says Sullivan and Yi talked about security issues, the war in Ukraine and what it termed “cross-Strait issues,” a reference to Taiwan. “This meeting was part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition,” the official readout of the meeting said. “The two sides agreed to maintain this important strategic channel of communication to advance these objectives.”
The visit in Vienna follows President Biden’s November meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Indonesia.
Open communication is needed to prevent any sort of military dustup from escalating. Regular visits like this can also speak to what the White House termed the challenge of “responsibly” managing competition. China functions as a global factory floor serving the world economy. The pandemic made clear how a shortage of one crucial component could gum up the works elsewhere.
Ford cannot keep making F-150s, for example, if it cannot get each of the computer chips it needs to complete assembly of the popular pickup. Our economies are interconnected and interdependent.
Staying in touch with Chinese leaders can help keep mistakes from happening — as well as keep the world’s various economic engines running.
Talk is cheap, it’s often said. Not talking can get terribly expensive.