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BEIJING: Beijing’s top diplomat Wang Yi has urged Washington to “work with China” to improve ties during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday.

The discussion on the sidelines of Southeast Asian talks in Jakarta on Thursday was the latest in a series of high-level interactions as the two sides try to ease trade and geopolitical tensions.

In their second meeting in less than a month, Blinken raised concerns about alleged Chinese cybersecurity threats after Microsoft said Chinese state-backed hackers had breached email accounts of US government agencies.

Washington “needs to take a rational and pragmatic approach, work with China in the same direction”, Wang told Blinken according to a statement on Friday by the foreign ministry in Beijing.

He urged the United States to stop “interfering” in China’s affairs.

“Wang outlined China’s stern position on the Taiwan question and urged the US to avoid wantonly interfering in China’s internal affairs,” the ministry said.

He also urged the United States to “stop suppressing China in the economy, trade, science and technology, and lift illegal and unwarranted sanctions against China”.

Tensions between the United States and China have soared in recent years over a range of issues, including trade, US military support for Taiwan, Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea and its cosy relationship with Russia.

Washington has choked advanced semiconductor exports to China and Beijing recently retaliated by restricting exports of gallium and germanium, two metals widely used to make semiconductors and electric vehicles.

The discussion between the top diplomats did not lead to any breakthroughs, but it was “candid, pragmatic and constructive”, the Chinese foreign ministry said, adding that the two sides “agreed to maintain communication”.

Blinken met Wang last month on the first visit to China by a US secretary of state in five years.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen then went to China earlier this month, and climate envoy John Kerry is to visit next week.

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