China's Wang stresses promoting stable, healthy Sino-US relations with Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Washington

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that promoting healthy, stable and sustainable China-U.S. relations is an important task, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken also discussed his recent travel in the Middle East and U.S. diplomatic efforts in the region with Wang, according to an earlier statement from the U.S. Department of State.

In the call, the two top diplomats exchanged views on the Israeli-Hamas conflict and agreed to maintain communication on the situation in the Middle East, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement.

Wang said during the conversation that the top priority at the moment is to cease fire and cease fighting "as soon as possible."

Blinken also thanked Wang for going to the U.S. Embassy in China to express his condolences to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, said the Chinese foreign ministry.

Henry Kissinger, the most powerful U.S. diplomat of the Cold War era, who helped Washington open up to China, died last week.

"Dr. Kissinger has always advocated that China and the United States should respect each other, evolve together, and fulfill their international responsibilities," Wang was quoted as saying in the phone call.

Wang also repeatedly stressed that the United States should fully understand the importance of the Taiwan issue to China, and that Kissinger's diplomatic legacy is worthy of being carried forward and developed by future generations.

Wang and Blinken also emphasised the importance of building upon progress made on key issues in the summit between the countries' respective presidents in California in November, according to statements from their respective departments.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill)