UPDATE 2: U.S. emphasizes need for “Cold War”-era crisis mechanism with China

(Additional details, quotes and bylines

By David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina

WASHINGTON (Reuters), March 30, 2018 – Efforts made to create a floor under U.S./China relations have not been successful. The coming months will determine if it’s possible to reestablish constructive diplomatic relations with Beijing. A top White House official stressed that the need for crisis-management hotlines from the Cold War era as well as other crisis mechanisms.

Kurt Campbell, U.S. Indo-Pacific coordinator, stated that Washington had informed Beijing of its willingness to hold another meeting between President Joe Biden (China) and Xi Jinping (U.S.), at a time when tensions are high with China.

“We are prepared” he said during an event hosted at the Center for a New American Security think tank.

Biden claimed last month that he had planned to talk with Xi about the incident and clear the air after a U.S. jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy plane. But this hasn’t happened, and tensions are only increasing.

Campbell stated that the Chinese have been “reluctant” to engage in discussions about confidence-building, crisis communications or hotlines and that it would be “responsible to take such mechanisms” given that U.S. and Chinese military forces operate in close proximity.

“We made those during the Cold War. He said that they were appropriate for now.

Campbell stated that the U.S. was at the beginning of a new phase in its competitive relations with China.

He stated, referring to U.S. priorities in relation to Biden’s last meeting with Xi in Bali in November.

“I think you will see in the coming months whether it’s going to be possible to reestablish effective, predictable, constructive diplomacy between the United States and China.”

TsaiIng-wen, Taiwan’s President, arrived in New York Wednesday as she traveled to Central America. She will be returning to Taipei next Wednesday. On her way, she will stop in Los Angeles where she will meet Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives. This is an interaction China warned could result in a “serious conflict” in U.S-China relations.

This visit is coming at a moment when U.S. relations are at their lowest level since Washington normalized relations with Beijing in 1979 and switched diplomatic recognition to Taipei.

Campbell stated that the United States would increase its focus on Indo-Pacific despite the conflict in Ukraine. This would be seen in its budgets and engagements as well as in aid and assistance.

He pointed out India, which will be participating in the next summit of the so called Quad countries in Australia in May. He said that he believed India’s relationship with the United States was one of the most important in the 21st Century.

“I believe we are destined to work more closely together,” he said, adding that Washington wanted to see more Indian students in American universities and more Americans in Indian colleges.

Campbell indicated that the United States has an ambitious agenda for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) summit in November. Biden will also be implementing steps to address U.S. determination “not just to play a secure, diplomatic, or political role in this region but also a vibrant, economic, and commercial role.” Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina, Editing by Leslie Adler, and Stephen Coates

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