Thu, 28 Sep 2023

Blinken Expected to Visit China Soon

Voice of America
08 Jun 2023, 17:35 GMT+10

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Beijing in coming weeks, rescheduling a trip canceled in February amid tensions that included a Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity discussed the updated plans with reporters but did not give information on the exact timing of the expected trip to China.

The Financial Times reported the visit could come this month.

When asked about the issue Monday, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at a briefing there was no public update on Blinken traveling to China but that the United States looks forward to rescheduling that visit 'when conditions allow.'

The State Department's top official for East Asia, Daniel Kritenbrink, and the National Security Council's senior director for China, Sarah Beran, were in China earlier this week for what Patel described as 'candid and productive discussions' with Chinese officials.

'Candid, constructive and fruitful'

China's foreign ministry called those talks 'candid, constructive and fruitful communication on promoting the improvement of China-U.S. relations and properly managing differences.'

Patel highlighted the need for U.S. and Chinese officials to meet in person, whether in Beijing or Washington, saying there is no substitute for those engagements 'to carry forward our discussion.'

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed the need for major powers to have open lines of communication last week ahead of a security conference in Singapore. His Chinese counterpart, General Li Shangfu, declined to meet with Austin on the sidelines of the conference, and while the two did shake hands at the forum, Austin said that was 'no substitute for a substantive engagement.'

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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