China’s top diplomat visits DC to try to stabilize relations with U.S.

October 27, 2023

China’s top diplomat, senior Foreign Policy Adviser Wang Yi, was in Washington on a three-day visit to meet with top U.S. officials—including, possibly, President Biden—in an effort to help stabilize relations between the two countries.

Wang met with his counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Thursday afternoon. Before going into a closed-door meeting, Wang said China would seek consensus and cooperation to “push the relationship as soon as possible back to the track of healthy, stable and sustainable development.”

Already heightened U.S.-Chinese tensions were only made worse in recent months after the Pentagon in February shot down what it says was a Chinese surveillance balloon over South Carolinian waters after it had crossed the continental U.S.

Tensions have been further aggravated by China’s harassment of U.S. vessels and aircraft in and over the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

Beijing has been saber-rattling against its self-governing neighbor, Taiwan, for months. The U.S. has suspected for some time that China is planning to invade Taiwan, though Beijing has been watching and waiting to see how Russia fairs in its invasion of Ukraine before going forth with an assault against the island nation, just one hundred miles off China’s coast. 

Blinken traveled to China to meet with Wang in June as part of the United States’ own efforts to tamp down the tensions.

Before Blinken met with Wang in Washington on Thursday, U.S. officials said they would press the top diplomat on the importance of China stepping up its role on the world stage if it wants to be considered a major international player. Officials in Washington have been disappointed with China over its support for Russia in its war against Ukraine as well as its relative silence on the Israel-Hamas war—especially as U.S. officials believe China has considerable leverage with Iran, a major backer of Hamas.

Following Thursday’s meeting, the State Department said Blinken and Wang had discussed “areas of difference” as well as “areas of cooperation,” and that Blinken had “reiterated that the United States will continue to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.”

Chinese officials said, “The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and issues of common concern in a constructive atmosphere.” 

Wang was scheduled to meet with Blinken again on Friday as well as with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

PHOTO: Blinken and Wang Yi at the State Department, Friday 

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