Amid ongoing diplomatic and security tensions between the world’s two largest economies, China’s top diplomat is on a high-stakes visit to Washington, D.C. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a meeting with his counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday (October 26), expressed China’s desire for “constructive conversations.”
The key visit comes ahead of a potential visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the US to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
“Therefore, China and the United States need to have dialogue. Not only should we resume dialogue, the dialogue should be in-depth and comprehensive,” Wang said, speaking through an interpreter.
The high-profile visit is the first between Chinese and US officials since the war broke out between Hamas and Israel. The US is hoping that Beijing can use its influence over Iran to prevent an escalation.
On Friday (Oct 27), Wang Yi will speak at the White House with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. He is also expected to meet President Joe Biden, although no official announcement has been made.
Wang’s trip to Washington follows recent visits by several prominent US officials, including Blinken, to Beijing over the past few months.
Analysts anticipate that Wang’s discussions will primarily revolve around the preparations for the expected meeting between President Biden and President Xi during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco from November 11 to 17. This would mark the first in-person encounter between Biden and Xi since their summit in Bali last November.
As they enter the APEC meeting, the two sides approach it with differing economic outlooks. Economic experts suggest that the United States has fared somewhat better than China amid the challenges of the global post-COVID-19 landscape.
Persistent US-China tensions
Wang Yi will aim to seek assurances from the US that Xi will have a smooth exit from the meeting without facing any embarrassment.
Biden administration over the years has stepped up pressure on the communist nation, including by recently announcing new curbs on the export of advanced chips.
Biden has also championed alliances in the face of China’s rise. He has forged a new three-way military alliance with Australia and Britain and promoted the “Quad” with Australia, India and Japan.
The US and China have also traded barbs over Taiwan and the ongoing conflict in West Asia, where Biden has been Israel’s foremost ally.