No. 2 US diplomat Sherman to visit China as tensions soar

WASHINGTON – Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will journey to China this weekend on a visit that comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing soar on a number of fronts, senior U.S. officers stated Wednesday.

Sherman will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and others within the northeastern metropolis of Tianjin on Sunday as a part of her present journey to Asia, which is also taking her to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia, the officers informed reporters.

Sherman would be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office, although Secretary of State Antony Blinken and nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan met Wang and veteran Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Anchorage, Alaska, in March for what proved to be a contentious first exchange. John Kerry, the Biden administration’s particular local weather envoy, traveled to Shanghai for meetings together with his Chinese counterpart in April, however Sherman now outranks him.


Sherman’s visit to China follows a major deterioration in already badly strained U.S.-China ties in simply the previous two weeks, and there had been questions on why the journey was not introduced on the similar time as the remainder of her journey to the area.

The officers wouldn’t affirm strategies that the Chinese had initially supplied solely lower-level officers for Sherman to meet. But they stated the Biden administration wouldn’t have agreed to the visit except they have been assured Sherman would have the ability to see top-ranking officers in particular person.

The officers weren’t licensed to preview the journey publicly forward of a proper announcement and spoke on the situation of anonymity.

Asked about Sherman’s itinerary on Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated the administration was “exploring alternatives” to interact face to face with Chinese officers at senior ranges.

“The president believes there is no such thing as a substitute for face-to-face diplomacy, that we’re ready, if it’s acceptable, to interact in direct diplomacy with the PRC if and when it’s in our pursuits, and after we suppose it will be constructive and significant to accomplish that,” Price stated, referring to the People’s Republic of China. “We make bulletins solely as soon as and if we decide {that a} visit has the potential to be simply that.”


The officers stated Sherman’s agenda can be wide-ranging and canopy areas of competition as properly as a smaller set of areas of convergence, such as a mutual need to carry North Korea again to the negotiating desk for nuclear talks. But they allowed that the variations are huge and stark and sure to occupy many of the dialogue.

On Monday, the administration accused China of being behind a massive hack of Microsoft Exchange e-mail server software program and indicted 4 Chinese nationals on costs they tried to steal U.S. commerce secrets and techniques, expertise and illness analysis.

Last week, the U.S. issued separate stark warnings in opposition to transactions with entities that function in China’s western Xinjiang area, the place China is accused of repressing Uyghur Muslims and different minorities. The administration additionally advised American firms of the deteriorating funding and industrial surroundings in Hong Kong, the place China has been cracking down on democratic freedoms it had pledged to respect within the former British colony.


At the identical time, the administration (*2*) that rejects almost all of China’s vital maritime claims within the South China Sea and reminded Beijing that any army transfer in opposition to the Philippines in disputed areas would set off a response beneath a U.S.-Philippines mutual protection treaty.

U.S.-China relations have additionally been aggravated by China’s growing threats toward Taiwan and its policies in Tibet.

Those points, all carried over from the Trump administration, got here on prime of persistent tensions over China’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the city of Wuhan, and issues about predatory Chinese funding within the growing world and its makes an attempt to acquire supremacy within the international high-tech telecommunications sector.

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