Tue. May 21st, 2024
taylor-alert-–-biden’s-top-diplomat-antony-blinken-tries-to-ease-‘bad-blood’-with-china-by-popping-into-beijing-record-store-and-buying-taylor-swift-album-after-tense-meeting-with-xi-jinpingTaylor Alert – Biden’s top diplomat Antony Blinken tries to ease ‘Bad Blood’ with China by popping into Beijing record store and buying Taylor Swift album after tense meeting with Xi Jinping

Secretary of State Antony Blinken popped into a Beijing record store as he wrapped up a three-day trip to China, where he bought albums from Taylor Swift and a classic Chinese rock star.

‘This is wonderful, thank you,’ Blinken told owner Yuxuan Zhou during his visit to Li-Pi record store. ‘I could probably stay here for hours.’

Blinken has called music his greatest passion. He plays guitar and has even jammed out at State Department events. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks with Yuxuan Zhou during a visit to Li-Pi record store

Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks with Yuxuan Zhou during a visit to Li-Pi record store

Secretary of State Antony Blinken bought Taylor Swift's Midnights album

Secretary of State Antony Blinken bought Taylor Swift’s Midnights album

Blinken used to play in a local Washington DC band called Cash Bar Wedding. 

During his short visit to the store, the owner played Blinken a record by Dou Wei, a Chinese musician, singer-songwriter, composer, and leading rock star in China.

Blinken praised the sound and then wandered the store, picking up ‘Midnights’ from Taylor Swift.  

‘Our greatest export,’ he said of the singer-songwriter.

Midnights is the tenth studio album by Swift. It was released in October 2022. 

Blinken bought both the Swift album and one by Dou Wei. 

There was an awkward moment when the secretary of state didn’t have the proper app to make a purchase in China. An aide paid for the albums and Blinken promised to reimburse him. 

The secretary of state told Rolling Stone that he owns six or seven guitars and that music is ‘driving passion in my life. And I continue to find joy in that, whether it’s playing a little or listening a lot.’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called music his greatest passion

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called music his greatest passion

Blinken was wrapping up a three-day trip to China, which included an awkward meeting with President Xi Jinping. 

The visit brought little progress on contentious issues, including China’s support for Russia in Ukraine, tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea and U.S. complaints about cheap Chinese exports 

During his meeting with the Chinese leader, Blinken emphasized the importance of ‘responsibly managing’ the differences between the United States and China.

Blinken said he raised concerns with Xi about China’s support for Russia and its invasion of Ukraine , as well as other issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea, human rights and the production and export of synthetic opioid precursors .

He sounded a positive note on recent progress made in bilateral cooperation, including in military communications, counternarcotics and artificial intelligence, on which the two sides agreed to start a dialogue on how to reduce risks from the rapidly emerging technology.

Blinken arrived in China on Wednesday, visiting Shanghai shortly before Biden signed the $95 billion foreign aid package that has several elements likely to anger Beijing, including $8 billion to counter China´s growing aggressiveness toward Taiwan and in the South China Sea. 

It also seeks to force TikTok´s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns look at a record during a visit to Li-Pi record store in Beijing

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns look at a record during a visit to Li-Pi record store in Beijing

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (right) talks with Yuxuan Zhou about music

Secretary of State Antony Blinken performs a Muddy Waters song during a celebration marking the launch of the Music Diplomacy Initiative in September 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken performs a Muddy Waters song during a celebration marking the launch of the Music Diplomacy Initiative in September 2023

China and the United States are the major players in the Indo-Pacific. Washington has become increasingly alarmed by Beijing´s growing aggressiveness in recent years toward Taiwan and its smaller Southeast Asian neighbors with which it has significant territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

China has railed against U.S. assistance to Taiwan and immediately condemned the aid as a dangerous provocation. It also strongly opposes efforts to force TikTok´s sale, although Blinken said this issue did not come up in his talks on Friday.