China Tells US It Must Respect Red Lines to Foster Communication

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang delivered the message in a meeting with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns held talks on Monday as tensions are soaring between the two nations.

The meeting came after Burns said Washington was ready to talk with Beijing as communications have broken down after Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a trip to China over the Chinese balloon that wound in US airspace.

Qin’s message was that in order to foster communications, the US must respect China’s positions, including its red lines over Taiwan. “It is not possible to talk about communication on the one hand, but to keep suppressing and containing China on the other hand,” Qin said, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry readout.

“We must respect China’s bottom line and red line, and stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. In particular, we must correctly handle the Taiwan issue, stop hollowing out the one-China principle, and stop supporting and condoning ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” the readout said.

The conversation comes as the US continues to boost military and diplomatic support for Taipei, steps Beijing strongly opposes. Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Biden when the leaders met in Bali last November that Taiwan is the “first red line that must not be crossed.”

Following the Bali meeting, the US and China made a point to continue high-level talks, but the progress was reversed after Blinken canceled his trip to China. POLITICO reported last month that Beijing had effectively frozen high-level contacts with the US and that Blinken was unable to reschedule his trip. The Qin-Burns meeting was one of the highest-level meetings between the two sides since the balloon incident.

Qin told Burns that the two sides should handle “unexpected incidents in the relationship between the two countries in a calm, professional and pragmatic manner, so as to avoid another impact on Sino-US relations.” Qin said the US and China should “promote dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity and mutual benefit.”

At this point, the US has not shared much detail about what Burns conveyed to Qin. On Twitter, Burns said he and Qin discussed “challenges in the US-China relationship and the necessity of stabilizing ties and expanding high-level communication.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.