According to Mr. Blinken, “the relationship between the United States and China is highly consequential not only for our countries but also for the world.”
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Officials in the Biden administration have been refocusing on China, which they describe as the biggest long-term strategic threat to the United States, after being distracted for several months by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi met last month in Europe, and defense secretary Lloyd J. Austin III later met with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore. The Treasury secretary Janet L. Yellen videoconferenced with Liu He, the vice premier of China, this month. Additionally, Li Zuocheng and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke on the phone last week.
The big question right now, according to Danny Russel, a former senior State Department official who now serves as vice president of the Asia Society, a think tank, is whether President Biden and Mr. Xi will meet for the first time in person, most likely on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit scheduled for November in Indonesia.
In a time of turbulence for both the U.S. and China, “both sides seem to think that leveraging the personal relationship between Biden and Xi would go a long way to stabilizing the relationship,” Mr. Russell said. There are no assurances that these efforts will be successful, and neither side is likely to make their plans public, but there seems to be agreement on the need for a face-to-face meeting.
Both the United States and China have reasons to strengthen their relationship, according to Linda Jakobson, vice chair and founding director of China Matters, an independent think tank in Australia. One of them, she claimed, was the state of the world economy, which not only put Mr. Biden’s Democratic Party in jeopardy in the November midterm elections, but also Mr. Xi’s attempt to win a third term as leader of the Chinese Communist Party at the party congress this fall.