20.6 C
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
HomeEconomyAntony Blinken is visiting China this month as a sign of easing...

Antony Blinken is visiting China this month as a sign of easing tensions


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to China this month, the latest sign that Beijing and Washington are beginning to stabilize a turbulent bilateral relationship that had sunk to its lowest point in decades.

Blinken is expected to visit in the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with his plans. Blinken had abruptly canceled a trip in February in response to the flight of a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US, which upended efforts to restore relations.

The visit by the US diplomat would be a sign of renewed progress between Washington and Beijing to restore high-level engagement. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 summit in Bali in November to try to put a “floor” under the relationship, but their efforts were derailed by the balloon episode.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Hiroshima last month, Biden said he expected an impending “thaw” in relations, raising expectations that the countries were past the balloon incident.

In recent weeks, the parties have resumed contacts. The Financial Times reported last week that CIA Director Bill Burns made a secret trip to Beijing in May, making him the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit China. His trip came at the invitation of China, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Daniel Kritenbrink, the top State Department official for East Asian affairs, and Sarah Beran, the top National Security Council official for China and Taiwan, met their counterparts in Beijing on Monday. In statements, both sides said talks aimed at improving relations were “candid and productive”.

Last month, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan held two days of talks in Vienna with Wang Yi, China’s top foreign policy official. The US is also trying to arrange a phone call between Biden and Xi to build momentum after months of little progress.

China had previously refused to agree to reschedule Blinken’s visit, partly out of dismay that he had canceled it in February, but also out of concern that Washington could embarrass Beijing by releasing the results of an FBI investigation to the balloon incident while in China. China.

In another sign of progress, China’s trade minister Wang Wentao recently met with U.S. trade secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington, on China’s first senior visit to Washington since January 2020. He also met with top U.S. trade official Katherine Tai at an Apec meeting in Detroit.

Xie Feng, China’s new ambassador to the US, arrived in Washington last month after a long delay since the departure of his predecessor Qin Gang, now secretary of state.

The State Department did not confirm Blinken’s upcoming trip to China, saying his visit would be rescheduled “when circumstances permit”. News of the trip was first reported by Bloomberg.

Despite signs of growing engagement, the countries are still struggling to revive military-to-military communication channels.

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu refused to meet his American counterpart Lloyd Austin at the Shangri-La Dialogue Asia security forum in Singapore last week because Washington refused to lift its sanctions against the general.

The US says military communication channels are critical due to an increasing number of what officials describe as dangerous interceptions by Chinese fighters over the South China Sea. It also accused a Chinese warship of recklessly sailing close to a US naval vessel in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories