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Blinken to visit Beijing with high hopes of mending US-China ties; Taiwan, Middle East conflict also on agenda

The official said Blinken has three primary objectives for his trip to China: First, making progress on key issues. Second, clearly and directly communicating concerns on bilateral, regional, and global issues. Third, responsibly managing competition, so that it does not result in miscalculation.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Washington Updated on: April 21, 2024 16:26 IST
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Image Source : AP US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China next week, which officials said is part of the plan of the Biden Administration to responsibly manage the US-China relationship by strengthening lines of communication to reduce the risk of miscalculation and conflict.

The China visit by Blinken comes after a series of highest-level interactions between the two countries, including the phone call between the Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, which was followed by a visit to Beijing by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and a telephone call that the Defense Secretary has had last week with his Chinese counterparts.

Cyberspace and Digital Policy 

With stops in Shanghai and Beijing, from April 24 to 26, Blinken would be accompanied by senior officials, including Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Liz Allen, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd Robinson, and Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy Nathaniel Fick.

“The Secretary’s visit will, of course, build on our intensive diplomacy over the past year to responsibly manage the US-China relationship by strengthening lines of communication to reduce the risk of miscalculation and conflict,” a senior administration official told reporters here.

Blinken’s trip will follow Biden and Xi’s summit meeting in Woodside, California in November, National Security Advisor Sullivan’s meeting with Director and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Bangkok in January, DHS Secretary Mayorkas’s meeting with MPS Minister Wang Xiaohong in Vienna in February. Blinken had met Director and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Munich in February.

“We are in a different place than we were a year ago when the bilateral relationship was at a historic low point. We have set out to stabilize the bilateral relationship without sacrificing our capacity to strengthen our alliances, compete vigorously, and defend our interests. We also believe, and we have also clearly demonstrated, that responsibly managing competition does not mean we will pull back from measures to protect US national interests,” the senior administration official said.

Main agendas of Blinken's China trip

Blinken has three primary objectives for his trip to China, the official said. First, making progress on key issues. Second, clearly and directly communicating concerns on bilateral, regional, and global issues. Third, responsibly managing competition, so that it does not result in miscalculation or conflict. “We’ve grounded these objectives in the administration’s approach to the PRC, which you have heard many times, of course, and that’s namely our invest, align, and compete strategy. We’ve made significant progress on each pillar of our strategy, and we believe that our doing so has strengthened our competitive position,” said the official.

“We’ve invested in the foundations of American strength with historic legislation on infrastructure, chips and science, and clean energy. We have reinvigorated our network of alliances and partnerships,” the official said. According to the official, Blinken will also reiterate their deep concerns regarding Chinese support for Russia’s defence industrial base.

“He will discuss the crisis in the Middle East, and of course, the Secretary will discuss challenges in the Indo-Pacific, including PRC provocations in the South China Sea, as well as the DPRK’s threatening rhetoric and reckless actions. He will also discuss the crisis in Burma. The Secretary will also reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the official said.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: China sanctions two US companies for supporting weapons sales to Taiwan amid tensions

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