Biden national security adviser meets with Chinese foreign minister

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet this weekend with China’s foreign minister as the Biden administration seeks to smooth tensions with Beijing.

Sullivan met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is the also director of the office of the Foreign Affairs Commission, in Malta Saturday and Sunday, the White House said in a readout of the meeting.

“This meeting was part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the relationship,” the White House said.

“The two sides had candid, substantive, and constructive discussions, building on the engagements between President Biden and [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] in Bali, Indonesia in November 2022.”

The two discussed global and regional security issues, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and issues related to the Taiwan Strait, according to the readout.

“The two sides committed to maintain this strategic channel of communication and to pursue additional high-level engagement and consultations in key areas between the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the coming months,” the White House said.

The meeting comes days before world leaders convene in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Sullivan and Wang last met in May in Vienna. Their discussions in Malta this weekend are the latest example of top Biden administration officials engaging with China, even as President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have not spoken in nearly a year.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have traveled to China this year to meet with government officials and business leaders.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing spiked this year after the U.S. military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon that had floated over the United States for several days. Biden later described Xi as a dictator, though he downplayed that the comment had any impact on relations with China.

The Biden administration has prioritized strengthening relationships and alliances in the Indo-Pacific in an effort to counter Chinese influence in the region and ensure that other countries are not reliant on Beijing for financial support. The latter point was a major focus for Biden last week when he traveled to India for the Group of 20 Summit.

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