“The purpose of the meeting was to express very clearly in Beijing our concerns about his involvement” in the war in Ukraine and to reiterate to China ” that any kind of support for Moscow – military or economic – will have implications” . US State Department spokesman Ned Price said about yesterday’s meeting in Rome between the American national security officer, Jake Sullivan, and Chinese high representative Yang Jiechi. “Supporting Russia on the invasion of Ukraine would have implications for China’s relations around the world, with the United States and its allies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region,” Price said. “I won’t go into details anymore,
The White House announced in a statement that the two diplomats “had a substantial discussion on Russia’s war against Ukraine”. Sullivan and Yang also stressed “the importance of keeping lines of communication open” during this crisis.
The meeting in Rome lasted about eight hours, including a break when the Chinese delegation left the hotel. The crisis in Ukraine was at the center of the meeting. At the end of the meeting there was no press point, the two delegations left the hotel while a large group of Italian and foreign journalists waited for them for a long time in front of the hotel. This morning, at 8.30, the meeting between Sullivan and Luigi Mattiolo, the diplomatic adviser of the Prime Minister, is scheduled at Palazzo Chigi.
The meeting took place nineteen days after the attack by the armed forces in Moscow. Yesterday news of Beijing’s military support for Russia leaked, news denied by both China and the Kremlin. But confirmed by the Financial Times that had anticipated it: the US told allies that China has given its willingness to provide military assistance to Russia, the financial newspaper wrote.
On the eve of the meeting with the Chinese representative, Sullivan had made it very clear that if Beijing offers a lifeline to Russia, it will suffer serious consequences. However, the position of the Asian giant for the United States remains fundamental: Sullivan’s intention is to open a channel with China for “a strong international response and to outline a global security strategy”. The weight of the sanctions, which China has harshly criticized and which the US intends to increase, also warned anyone who helps Putin to avoid them.
On the subject of weapons that Beijing would supply to Russia, China accused the United States of “disinformation”. According to the Beijing Foreign Ministry, reports the Global Times, the “US side has spread disinformation against China on the Ukrainian question with sinister intentions”. Chinese diplomacy is keen to reiterate its “constructive role” to “promote peace talks”.
However, the United States is “deeply concerned” about China’s position of “alignment with Russia” in the face of war in Ukraine, a senior White House official said. Today’s discussion in Rome between Jake Sullivan and Yang Jiechi lasted seven hours and was “intense” and “very frank”, the official added. Wang: Beijing is not on the side of the conflict
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made it clear in a phone call with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares that Beijing is not on the side of the conflict in Ukraine. “China is not a participant in the crisis,” Wang said, according to the Chinese state agency Xinhua, “some forces have continued to throw mud on China over the Ukrainian issue and have invented all kinds of disinformation.” Wang seems to be referring in particular to the article in the ‘Financial Times’ that China is ready to provide military assistance to Russia.
Beijing, reiterated the director of the Chinese Communist Party’s Foreign Affairs Commission, Yang Jiechi, and for the “maximum restraint” by all in the crisis in Ukraine: he wants to protect civilians and avoid a large-scale humanitarian crisis, but to address the crisis, warned the senior Chinese diplomat, must go to the root of the problem and “respond to the legitimate concerns of all parties”, with an implicit reference to the concerns expressed by Moscow for the eastward enlargement of NATO.
A profile of the two negotiators Jake Sullivan, US security adviser and considered a rising star of the democratic political landscape: he was defined by Joe Biden, “a more unique mind than rare” and by Hillary Clinton, “a potential future president of the United States”. At just 45, he has a dazzling resume: he was a presidential adviser to Biden, Clinton and Obama, and became the former senator’s ‘right hand man’ when she became secretary of state in 2009 after losing her internal battle against Obama; in 2013, he rose to the top of the Democratic establishment by becoming National Security Advisor to then Vice President Joe Biden and one of the most trusted men in his entourage. And his ‘alter ego’,. A figure that was just slightly clouded by the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, what Senator Mitt Romney, “an extraordinary disaster from start to finish”. A young official, Sullivan was one of the cornerstones in the negotiations that led, in 2015, to the agreement that the United States and the other five world powers signed with Iran in 2015, when the ayatollahs’ regime was offered the lifting of economic sanctions in exchange for stopping its nuclear activities, to ease the threats to world peace. He seems to have a more uncompromising stance with China and has already met Yang: the last time face to face was in October, in a six-hour meeting in Switzerland that paved the way for the virtual Biden-Xi meeting in November.
A career in the Foreign Ministry, and today head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Foreign Affairs Commission, Yang Jiechi, 71, a native of Shanghai, is China’s highest-ranking diplomat. Since 2017, Yang is one of the 25 members of the Politburo, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which includes the party’s general secretary, Xi Jinping. Yang is in a higher position than that of the foreign minister, Wang Yi, who, like Yang, is also a councilor of state. His role as mediator in difficult relations with the United States has come to light on several occasions, and especially in the last year, when he has participated directly in talks with his US counterparts. Yang is a veteran of relations with the United States, since the first steps of bilateral relations.
In the 1980s he was among the officials of the Chinese Embassy in the US, officially opened in 1979, with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington, and then again in the 1990s, when he was Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Washington. Yang has also been an interpreter for Deng Xiaoping: a photo shows him during a meeting between Deng and the then US president, George HW Bush, in February 1989, just a few weeks after Bush senior took office in the White House. In Beijing, he climbed up positions in the foreign ministry to become minister in 2007, a position he held until 2013.

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