US, China top diplomats begin talks in Beijing

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are holding a meeting in Beijing.

The talks got underway on Friday morning.

At the start of the meeting, Wang said that the China-US relationship is beginning to stabilize overall. But he noted that negative factors in the bilateral relationship are still increasing and building. He added that China's core interests are always facing challenges.

The foreign minister also demanded that Washington not cross a red line with regard to Beijing's sovereignty and security.

In response, Blinken said, "There is no substitute, in our judgement, for face-to-face diplomacy in order to try to move forward, but also to make sure that we're as clear as possible about the areas where we have differences, at the very least to avoid misunderstandings, to avoid miscalculations."

Blinken added, "I look forward in these discussions to being very clear, very direct about the areas where we have differences."

A senior official at the US State Department says the two diplomats will exchange views regarding Taiwan, where President-elect Lai Ching-te is set to take office next month.

The official says they will also discuss the issue of the South China Sea. This comes as Beijing has been ramping up its maritime activities in the region.

Blinken will likely express strong concerns about Beijing's alleged support for Russia's defense industry. This comes amid Moscow's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Blinken's visit to the Chinese capital is his first since June of last year. Observers are wondering whether he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

At a summit last November, the leaders of the US and China agreed to continue to hold dialogues. Observers are waiting to see if both sides can agree to maintain a stable relationship, even though they remain at odds over various issues.