Blinken visits China

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Beijing on Sunday, June 18, 2023. He is the first top US diplomat to visit China in five years, amid frozen bilateral relations and little prospect of progress on the long list of differences between the two of the world's largest economies.

During his stay through Monday, he is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Qin Gang, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and possibly President Xi Jinping, seeking to restore good communication between the US and China and ensure that the strategic competition between the two countries will not lead to conflict.

There is an expectation that Blinken’s visit will pave the way for more bilateral meetings in the coming months, including possible trips by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. It could also set the stage for meetings between Xi and Biden at multilateral summits later this year.

Any escalation between the two superpowers could have a global impact at all levels, from financial markets to trade routes and global supply chains.

Bilateral relations have soured, raising concerns that they may one day clash militarily over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own. They also disagree on issues ranging from trade, US efforts to rein in China’s semiconductor industry and Beijing’s record on human rights.

Of particular concern to China’s neighbors is its reluctance to engage in military talks with Washington, despite repeated US attempts.

Speaking at a news conference before departing for Beijing, Blinken said his trip has three main goals: Establishing mechanisms for crisis management, promoting the interests of the US and its allies, and exploring areas of possible cooperation with China.