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Blinken meets Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in high-stakes trip

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) walks with China’s Overseas Minister Qin Gang (R) forward of a gathering on the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on June 18, 2023.

Leah Millis | Afp | Getty Pictures

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday met with Chinese language Overseas Minister Qin Gang and high diplomat Wang Yi in Beijing on a high-stakes diplomatic mission to chill U.S.-China tensions which have overshadowed geopolitics in current months.

The journey by Blinken makes him the highest-level American official to go to China since Joe Biden grew to become U.S. president and the primary U.S. secretary of state to make the journey in practically 5 years.

Blinken’s authentic journey plans for February have been disrupted by information of an alleged Chinese language spy balloon flying over U.S. airspace. The U.S. finally shot down the alleged spy balloon, and tensions between the world’s two largest economies have since remained tense. Beijing insisted the balloon was an unnamed climate tracker that blew astray.

Blinken is about to have a working dinner later Sunday on the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse with Qin, who was previosuly China’s ambassador to the U.S. Some studies recommend there may additionally be a gathering with President Xi Jinping on Monday throughout Blinken’s two-day go to.

Expectations for a major restoration within the U.S.-China relationship, particularly on account of Blinken’s journey, stay low. State division spokesperson Matthew Miller mentioned in an announcement final week that Blinken will talk about the significance of sustaining open strains of communication and can “increase bilateral problems with concern, international and regional issues, and potential cooperation on shared transnational challenges.”

On the annual Shangri-La Dialogue occasion in Singapore earlier this month, the U.S. protection chief and his Chinese language counterpart did not have a proper assembly. And extra broadly, worldwide journey restrictions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic restricted contact between the U.S. and Chinese language governments.

In August, a controversial go to to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the U.S. Home of Representatives, fueled Beijing’s ire. Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its territory, with no proper to conduct diplomatic relations by itself. The U.S. acknowledges Beijing as the only real authorized authorities of China, whereas sustaining unofficial relations with the island, a democratically self-governed area.

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Biden’s go to to Beijing may additionally probably pave the best way for a November assembly between Biden and his Chinese language counterpart Xi — their first since Bali in November, a day earlier than a G-20 summit kicked off.

In late Might, the U.S. commerce secretary and her Chinese language counterpart met in Washington, D.C. And U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen can be anticipated to go to China at an unspecified time.

China’s new ambassador to the U.S., Xie Feng, arrived within the U.S. in late Might after a interval of about six months with nobody in that place. Biden mentioned across the identical time that he anticipated U.S.-China tensions would “start to thaw very shortly.”

A possible alternative for Biden and Xi to satisfy once more can be in November, throughout the Asia-Pacific Financial Cooperation Leaders’ Summit that is set to be held in San Francisco.