U.S. envoy Sullivan to satisfy China’s prime diplomat amid excessive tensions


WASHINGTON/BEIJING, Oct 5 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser will maintain talks with China’s prime diplomat Yang Jiechi in Switzerland on Wednesday, upholding a pledge by each nations to spice up communication amid a deepening strategic rivalry.

The Zurich assembly comes at a time of heightened tensions between the world’s two largest economies over a variety of points together with Taiwan. It shall be Sullivan’s first face-to-face assembly with Yang since their acrimonious exchanges in Alaska in March, which additionally concerned U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The White House stated in an announcement that the assembly follows up on Biden’s Sept. 9 name with Chinese President Xi Jinping “as we continue to seek to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.”

That name ended an almost seven-month hole in direct communication between the leaders, and so they mentioned the necessity to make sure that competitors between the 2 – with relations sinking to their lowest stage in a long time – doesn’t veer into battle.

Blinken, at the moment visiting Paris, held a name with Yang in June, stressing the necessity for cooperation and transparency over the origins of COVID-19 and raised different contentious matters, together with China’s therapy of Uyghur Muslims, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper quoted an official accustomed to the preparations for the Zurich assembly as saying the target is “to rebuild communication channels and implement consensus reached” between Xi and Biden.

With commerce tensions additionally on the prime of the U.S.-China agenda, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, in Paris for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conferences, has stated she hopes to carry discussions quickly with Chinese counterparts.

On Monday, Tai unveiled the outcomes of a months-long “top-to-bottom” evaluation of China commerce coverage, pledging to carry “frank” talks with Beijing about its failure to maintain guarantees made in former President Donald Trump’s commerce deal and finish dangerous industrial insurance policies.

The Global Times, a Chinese state-run tabloid, stated China is prepared to construct mutually helpful commerce with the United States however is not going to make concessions on precept and isn’t afraid of a drawn-out contest.

“The China-U.S. trade war has lasted for more than three-and-a-half years. Instead of being weakened, China’s economy has taken a step forward in comparison with the scale of the U.S.,” it stated.


Talks between officers from the 2 powers since Biden took workplace in January have proven little concrete progress. U.S. officers stated the Biden-Xi name was a take a look at of whether or not direct top-level engagement might finish a stalemate in ties.

After that decision, Biden denied a media report that Xi turned down a suggestion from Biden for a primary face-to-face assembly as leaders.

Since then, the United States has taken a sequence of steps to strengthen its hand towards China in coordination with allies.

These have included the announcement of a trilateral partnership with Britain and Australia, known as AUKUS, to supply the latter with nuclear-powered submarines. Biden additionally hosted a primary in-person summit with Australia, India and Japan by which the “Quad” leaders vowed to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific area “undaunted by coercion.”

The White House stated Sullivan will even go to Brussels for conferences with NATO and European Union officers, in addition to Paris, and can transient the Europeans on his assembly with Yang.

It stated that at NATO he’ll focus on implementation of a choice on the June NATO summit to modernize the alliance and strategic challenges, and discuss with EU officers about commerce, expertise and world financial points.

Biden’s administration can be pursuing an enormous home spending proposal geared toward rebuilding home infrastructure and trade, partially to spice up U.S. competitiveness with China.

“It’s not a thaw. It’s not a re-embrace of engagement,” Evan Medeiros, an Asia specialist throughout former President Barack Obama’s administration, stated of the Zurich assembly. “It’s about getting serious and systematic about competition. That means being very clear about boundaries, our perceptions of their behavior, particularly the recent number of air force strike packages around Taiwan.”

China has blamed the United States for elevated tensions over the democratically ruled island claimed by Beijing, even because it has performed an unprecedented variety of incursions by its air power into Taiwan’s air protection zone.

Analysts stated elevated communication between senior U.S. and Chinese officers might enable progress in some facets of ties, for instance, letting extra journalists return to one another’s nations and reopening shuttered consulates in Houston and Chengdu.

The month-end G20 summit in Italy has been talked about as a attainable venue for a face-to-face Biden-Xi assembly.

“I think the hope is that it will lead to a Biden-Xi Jinping meeting, which may have to be virtual,” stated Asia professional Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru and Steve Holland, David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons, Will Dunham, Alistair Bell and Mark Heinrich

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan holds a news briefing about the situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis