US, China diplomats to hold first in-person talks of Biden presidency

The meeting, taking place on Blinken's return from his first overseas trip to key US allies Japan and South Korea, will come amid what is shaping up to be a major US diplomatic push to solidify alliances in Asia and Europe to counter China.
US President Joe Biden speaks at an event in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus on Tuesday. (AP)
US President Joe Biden speaks at an event in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus on Tuesday. (AP)
Published on Mar 11, 2021 12:10 PM IST
Copy Link
Reuters |

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with top Chinese officials on March 18 in Alaska, the White House said on Wednesday, the first high-level in-person contact between the two sparring countries under the Biden administration.

The meeting, taking place on Blinken's return from his first overseas trip to key US allies Japan and South Korea, will come amid what is shaping up to be a major US diplomatic push to solidify alliances in Asia and Europe to counter China.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan will join the meeting in Anchorage with China's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and State Councillor Wang Yi, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that the administration would approach its relations with China "in lockstep" with its partners.

"It was important to us that this administration's first meeting with Chinese officials be held on American soil, and occur after we have met and consulted closely with partners and allies in both Asia and Europe," Psaki told a news briefing.

She said the meeting would be "an opportunity to address a wide range of issues, including ones where we have deep disagreements."

China's embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

President Joe Biden's administration has committed to reviewing elements of US policies toward China, as the world's two largest economies navigate frosty relations that sank to their lowest depths in decades during Donald Trump's presidency.

Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, held their first phone call as leaders last month and appeared at odds on most issues, even as Xi warned that confrontation would be a "disaster" for both nations.

Testifying before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Blinken signaled next week's meeting would not be a return to regular senior-level dialogues used under past US administrations, which had been increasingly criticized in Washington for yielding little progress on US grievances with Beijing.

"There's no intent at this point for a series of follow-on engagements. Those engagements, if they are to follow, really have to be based on the proposition that we're seeing tangible progress and tangible outcomes on the issues of concern to us with China," Blinken said.

US DIPLOMATIC PUSH

Blinken also said that if China insists it is not violating the human rights of Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, it should provide the world access to the area.

UN experts and rights groups say China has detained more than a million Uighurs and other minorities there, actions the United States has deemed a genocide. Beijing denies abuses, saying facilities in the region are for vocational training to counter the threat of terrorism.

The talks will follow the visit by Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan and South Korea next week, as well as an online summit on Friday between Biden and the leaders of Japan, India and Australia.

That will be the first leader-level meeting of the four-country group, known as the Quad, seen as part of US efforts to boost its diplomacy in Asia to balance China's growing military and economic power.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the timing of the meeting sends the message to Beijing that US alliances are strong.

Discussions are likely to focus on China's policies toward Hong Kong, its pressure on Taiwan, its treatment of Uighurs, and what Washington sees as economic coercion against Australia, she said.

"If the Chinese repeat their messages contained in recent speeches that the US is to blame for the problems in the US-China relationship and therefore the ball is in the US court, then nothing positive will come of this meeting," Glaser said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Ukrainian servicemen sit in a bus after they were evacuated from the besieged Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant. 

    Ukraine war: 200 bodies found in basement of Mariupol building | Top points

    As many as 200 bodies were found in the basement of an apartment building in Mariupol after workers dug through the debris, authorities said Tuesday even as Russian forces were conducting an all-out assault to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin cities straddling a river in eastern Ukraine - a battle which could determine the success or failure of Moscow's main campaign in the east.

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates his reelection, during the 75th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva.

    Tedros Ghebreyesus, re-elected as WHO chief: Official

    The first African to head the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was re-elected Tuesday with overwhelming support after running unopposed for a second term. Sources in the room said he had received 155 of the 160 votes cast. "I am a child of war," he said, the emotion palpable in his voice. "Not only a child of war, but following me throughout," said Tedros. Peace "is a prerequisite for health", he added.

  • Houses of Andhra Pradesh minister Pinipe Vishwaroop and MLA Ponnada Satish were set on fire.

    Daily brief: Andhra minister's house set ablaze and all the latest news

    Here are today's top news, analysis, and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times. Andhra minister's house set ablaze amid protest against district's renaming The houses of Andhra Pradesh minister Pinipe Vishwaroop and MLA Ponnada Satish were set on fire as protests against the change of Konaseema district's name turned violent on Tuesday, local reports indicate.

  • Afghan male TV presenters also cover their faces in solidarity with their female colleagues. (Image courtesy: @HSajwanization)

    Male anchors in Afghanistan don face mask in solidarity with women colleagues

    Male news anchors in Afghanistan have launched a campaign on social media, days after the Taliban government issued a decree ordering their female colleagues to cover their faces at work. The decree and campaign have also caught the attention of journalists working for global houses, including Deutsche Welle. Several male and female journalists and news anchors have been tweeting their selfies with a face covering. They also shared messages in support of women in Afghanistan.

  • Representative image

    11 killed in late-night shootings in two bars in Mexico: Report

    Eleven people, eight of them women, were killed in simultaneous shooting attacks on two bars in north-central Mexico, authorities said Tuesday. Police in the city of Celaya said the attacks occurred late Monday at two bars on the same street. They said 10 of the victims died at the scene, and another was declared dead at a hospital later. Police confirmed that messages were left at the scene, but did not confirm what they said.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 25, 2022