Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Beijing on June 18-19 to hold a series of meetings with senior Chinese officials in a bid to recommence the bilateral dialogue that was in many respects put on hold following the spy balloon incident.
The visit will take place amid ongoing tensions in bilateral relations, including US sanctions to limit technology exports to China, as well as Washington’s military support for Taiwan, which Beijing has repeatedly described as unacceptable.
This will be Blinken’s first visit to China in his current role and also the first US Secretary of State visit to Beijing since 2018. It took the Biden administration almost six months to put this visit back on the schedule as it was originally set for February.
It remains unknown though who exactly Blinken will meet with and whether he will have a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
As the secretary said himself, his plan in Beijing will be to build up on the dialogue between the nations commenced by US President Joe Biden and Xi during their engagement in Bali, Indonesia last year.
On Friday, Blinken outlined three objectives of his upcoming trip. First, he will seek to establish open and empowered communications between the countries to responsibly manage the relationship, including by discussing challenges, addressing misperceptions, and avoiding miscalculations.
Second, Blinken plans to advance US interests and values, including speaking directly and candidly about “very real concerns” on a range of issues.
The last objective is to explore the potential for cooperation on transnational challenges between the United States and China, including global economic stability, illicit synthetic drugs, climate, and global health.
The US top diplomat believes that the achievement of all three goals is in the national interests of both China and the United States, as it will make it possible to secure both countries and the whole world in the face of growing strategic competition between the two superpowers.
Ukraine is also expected to be the focus of discussion in China. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink said on Wednesday that the United States expects a “full and robust” exchange on the situation in Ukraine and Blinken will once again reiterate US expectations regarding Chinese actions and potential consequences in that regard.
While it remains impossible to predict what the outcome of this trip will be, Kritenbrink on Wednesday advised not to anticipate a long list of deliverables coming out of it.
From Beijing, Blinken will travel to the United Kingdom, where he will take part in the international Ukraine Recovery Conference that will take place on June 21-22 in London.