In the world of diplomacy, where every handshake is scrutinized, and every word is weighed, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Beijing visit on June 19, 2023, was a veritable goldmine of trivia. So buckle up, trivia buffs! We’re about to take a trivia rollercoaster ride through international diplomacy, complete with spy balloons and marathon meetings.
1. The Great Hall of the People: Not Just for Heads of State Anymore
Blinken’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping took place in the Great Hall of the People. This is a venue usually reserved for greeting heads of state. But hey, who’s counting? The meeting lasted for a whopping 35 minutes, during which both Blinken and Xi Jinping managed to express satisfaction with the progress made during the talks. They stressed the importance of having a more stable relationship because, let’s face it, a conflict between the world’s two largest economies would be a real party pooper.
2. The Seven-Hour Saga: Blinken vs. Qin Gang
In a feat of diplomatic endurance, Blinken held talks with China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, for more than seven hours. That’s longer than the director’s cut of “The Godfather”! Despite the marathon meeting, China refused to resume military-to-military communication channels, citing US sanctions as an obstacle.
3. The Controversial Cocktail: Taiwan, Human Rights, and Spy Activities
The discussions also covered a cocktail of contentious issues such as Taiwan, human rights, North Korea’s provocations, and US concerns about Beijing’s intelligence activities in Cuba. It’s like a diplomatic version of “Choose your fighter”!
4. The Diplomatic Domino Effect: Blinken’s Visit as a Gateway
Blinken’s visit could pave the way for more diplomatic engagement between the US and China. This could include possible trips by other US officials and a potential meeting between Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden later in the year.
5. The Spy Balloon Saga: A Weather Balloon or a Spy Device?
Blinken’s trip was initially planned for February but postponed due to controversy involving a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over US airspace. Whether it was a weather balloon that lost its way or a spy device on a secret mission, we may never know. However, a day after the top US diplomat visited Beijing, US President Joe Biden said that “the reason why Xi Jinping got very upset in terms of when I shot that balloon down with two box cars full of spy equipment in it was he didn’t know it was there,” Biden said at a fundraiser in California. “That’s a great embarrassment for dictators,” he added.
We cross-checked our Blinken’s Beijing Visit trivia facts with the world’s most trusted news providers. Here are the articles we read for this post.
- AP News: Blinken and Xi Jinping pledge to stabilize the deteriorating ties between the US and China
- The New York Times: Blinken Meets Xi as China, and the US, Try to Ease Tensions
- Reuters: Xi, Blinken agree to stabilize US-China relations in rare Beijing talks
- Reuters: Biden calls Chinese President Xi a dictator
- The Guardian: Antony Blinken and Xi Jinping Hold ‘Candid’ Talks in Beijing