Top US official travels to China in search of ‘guardrails’ in tense relations
In the highest-level visit under President Joe Biden, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will fly to China this weekend to address deteriorating ties, the two countries confirmed Wednesday.
Despite near-daily new rifts between the two countries, particularly on human rights and cybersecurity, the trip is going forward, with both sides claiming they want to at least try to bring greater stability to a relationship that is often characterized as the most important in the world.
Sherman intends to demonstrate to China “what responsible and healthy competition looks like,” according to State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“We welcome the tough competition, but we also want to ensure that the playing field is equitable and, more crucially, that the competition does not become adversarial. “We want to make sure this is a partnership with boundaries,” Price explained.
According to China’s state-run Global Times, a nationalist newspaper, an analyst said that “a more stable China-US relationship will benefit the globe,” but also warned that depending on what Sherman wants to address, there may be no more negotiations.
It reported another expert as stating that if the US raises concerns about rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, “they have to realize they are wasting time.”
The trip will lack the formalities of a full-fledged state visit. Sherman will not travel to Beijing, but will instead spend two days in Tianjin, an eastern port city, beginning on Sunday.
According to the State Department and the Chinese foreign ministry, she will meet with senior officials in Tianjin, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The only other top official from the Biden administration to visit China was John Kerry, the former secretary of state turned US climate envoy, as the world’s two greatest polluters committed to work together on the global catastrophe despite their disagreements.
Kerry did not hold talks in the capital, instead meeting with his climate counterpart in Shanghai, where the typically media-friendly former senator had few public appearances.
In a clearly hostile meeting in March in Alaska, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, met with Wang and top Chinese official Yang Jiechi in a visibly tense discussion in which the Chinese side berated the US in front of the cameras.
The US has openly accused Beijing of carrying out the major Microsoft Exchange hack in March and issued a business alert warning of risks in Hong Kong since last week. In addition, the US Senate decided to prohibit imports from Xinjiang. Brief News from Washington Newsday.