Top U.S., China diplomats to hold first in-person talks of Biden presidency
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with top Chinese officials on March 18 in Alaska, the White House said on Wednesday, the first high-level in-person contact between the two sparring countries under the Biden administration, Reuters reports.
The meeting, taking place on Blinken’s return from his first overseas trip to key U.S. allies Japan and South Korea, will come amid what is shaping up to be a major U.S. diplomatic push to solidify alliances in Asia and Europe to counter China.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan will join the meeting in Anchorage with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and State Councillor Wang Yi, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that the administration would approach its relations with China “in lockstep” with its partners.
“It was important to us that this administration’s first meeting with Chinese officials be held on American soil, and occur after we have met and consulted closely with partners and allies in both Asia and Europe,” Psaki told a news briefing.
She said the meeting would be “an opportunity to address a wide range of issues, including ones where we have deep disagreements.”
China’s embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
President Joe Biden’s administration has committed to reviewing elements of U.S. policies toward China, as the world’s two largest economies navigate frosty relations that sank to their lowest depths in decades during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, held their first phone call as leaders last month and appeared at odds on most issues, even as Xi warned that confrontation would be a “disaster” for both nations.