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US diplomat Sherman visits China (State Department)




Washington, DC, USA: Wendy Sherman, candidate for Deputy Secretary of the State Department, speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. (Photo by Michael Brochstein / Sipa USA)

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit China on July 25 and 26, the State Department said on Wednesday, as the world’s two largest economies seek to navigate a deeply troubled bilateral relationship.

Sherman, the second head of the State Department, will meet with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials in the city of Tianjin, southeast of Beijing.

Sherman’s visit will come at the end of visits to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia as part of his second visit to Asia in less than two months. The State Department said Sherman will also visit Oman on July 27.

Talks with China would be “part of current US efforts to hold frank exchanges … to advance US interests and values ​​and to handle relations responsibly,” the State Department said. in a press release.

Using the acronym for China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China, he said Sherman would “discuss areas where we have serious concerns about the actions of the PRC, as well as areas where our interests align.” .

Sherman’s visit to China has been anticipated in foreign policy circles, but was not announced with the remainder of his trip last week.

This could help set the stage for further exchanges and a possible meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this year, possibly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Italy in late October.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported last week that China is planning for Xie Feng, a deputy foreign minister, to meet with Sherman, but the two sides are discussing the details of the protocol.

“Our high-level engagement is a precious resource, so we wanted to make sure that we were going to have substantial and constructive exchanges with senior PRC officials,” a senior US administration official told reporters.

“That’s exactly what we think we are getting with this reunion that we were going to have with Wang Yi.”

North Korea, the climate and Iran are common issues she hopes to make progress on in China, despite a conflicted relationship that has plunged relations to their worst level in decades.

“We certainly have conversations going on about potential ways to work together on common issues,” a second senior official said.

Biden stepped up sanctions against China for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong and targeted more Chinese officials last week. Unlike Trump, he has also largely sought to rally allies and partners to help counter what the White House says are China’s increasingly coercive economic and foreign policies.

In April, Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry visited Shanghai, making him the top US official to visit China under the Biden administration.

But otherwise, the two sides have had little high-level face-to-face contact since a first high-level diplomatic meeting under the Biden administration in March in Alaska, where top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi harangued the US side over what he said it was a hegemonic American foreign policy and its struggling democracy.

The United States accused China of demagoguery.

Executives of the Asia-Pacific business group APEC, including Biden, Russian Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi, on Friday pledged to work to expand the sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic.




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