The visit comes amid a war between Israel and Hamas and escalating tensions in the disputed South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the United States later this week as part of ongoing efforts to repair strained relations between the two countries amid growing geopolitical crises.
Wang will travel to Washington from Oct. 26 to 28 and meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, officials said, following the trip by Blinken and other senior officials in Beijing in June.
The United States is keen to ensure that disagreements between Washington and Beijing do not escalate into conflict and that they can work together on issues of common concern. Other US politicians have visited China since Blinken’s visit, with California Governor Gavin Newsom currently in the country to discuss climate change.
“We continue to believe that direct, face-to-face diplomacy is the best way to raise difficult issues, address misperceptions and miscommunications, and consider working with the Chinese where our interests intersect,” he said. said an official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. the Reuters news agency.
The meetings will likely focus on a range of issues, including the Israel-Hamas conflict, the war in Ukraine and escalating tensions in the South China Sea, senior administration officials told the Associated Press. , who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Washington is sending military aid to Israel and Ukraine, while Beijing has moved closer to Russia since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022 and called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
A second official said the United States would “push the Chinese to take a more constructive approach on both counts.”
Hopes for a Xi-Biden meeting
Wang held phone calls with the foreign ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday and expressed sadness over the civilian suffering resulting from the conflict. He reiterated China’s calls for a ceasefire and its support for a two-state solution.
Washington has placed importance on China’s ability to influence Iran.
Blinken, during his whirlwind trip last week to the Middle East, had a phone call with Wang asking him to use Beijing’s influence in the region to ensure the conflict does not expand.
Wang’s trip comes about three weeks before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, where President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet.
U.S. officials have not confirmed the leaders’ meeting, nor indicated whether Wang’s visit would prepare for such a meeting. Instead, Wang’s trip was described as a reciprocation of Blinken’s visit to Beijing.
Beijing has not yet confirmed whether Xi will travel to San Francisco for the annual APEC summit.
Relations between the United States and China have deteriorated since 2018 over issues including trade, the situation in the northwest region of Xinjiang, the militarization of the South China Sea, growing pressure on the self-ruled island of Taiwan and the origins of COVID-19. .
Biden and Xi last met in November 2022 on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia. At that time, they agreed to resume talks, create working groups on specific issues and expand people-to-people exchanges.
US officials said territorial disputes in the South and East China seas were also likely to be on the agenda, saying Washington was deeply concerned about China’s “destabilizing and dangerous actions” in the Sea. Southern China.
The Philippines, a key US ally, this week accused Chinese coast guard vessels of “intentionally” colliding with their ships during a resupply mission at Second Thomas Shoal, during the most serious incident this year. Beijing claims this shoal as its territory although it is located in Manila’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Restoring military ties with China also remains a major concern for the United States, the officials said, adding that this involves sustained communications across all ranks.
Defense Minister Li Shangfu, who has not been seen in public for nearly two months amid a corruption investigation, had rejected US calls for a meeting. He was targeted by American sanctions in 2018 for purchases of Russian weapons.