Senior US diplomat visits China amid mounting tensions | China News

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Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s journey comes amid almost daily new rifts between the two powers, including human rights and cybersecurity.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to China this weekend for a visit that comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing mount on multiple fronts, the State Department said.

Sherman will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and others in the northeastern city of Tianjin on Sunday as part of her current Asia trip, which will also take her to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. She will visit Oman later.

“These discussions are part of the U.S.’s ongoing effort to engage candidly with officials of the People’s Republic of China to advance U.S. interests and values ​​and responsibly manage the relationship,” the ministry said in a statement. State Department on Wednesday, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

“The deputy secretary will discuss areas where we have serious concerns about PRC actions, as well as areas where our interests are aligned,” it said.

Sherman will be the most senior U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office, although Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Wang and veteran Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in March in Anchorage, Alaska, for what turned out to be a controversial first exchange. to be.

Sherman’s visit to China follows a significant deterioration in already tense ties between the US and China in just the past two weeks.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, met in March in Alaska with Wang and top official Yang Jiechi in a visibly tense meeting [File: Frederic J Brown/Pool/Reuters]

Senior US officials would not confirm suggestions that the Chinese had initially only offered lower officials to Sherman.

But they said the Biden administration would not have agreed to the visit unless they were assured Sherman would be able to see top officials in person.

The officials were not authorized to view the trip publicly before Wednesday’s formal announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The officials said Sherman’s agenda would be broad and would include points of contention, as well as a smaller range of areas of convergence, such as a mutual desire to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table for nuclear talks.

Allegations of hacking

The US publicly accused Beijing on Monday of carrying out the… huge hack in March from Microsoft Exchange and issued a business advisory warning of risks in Hong Kong.

China denounced what it called a called “made up” campaign by the US, rallying allies, including NATO, for a rare joint condemnation of alleged cyberattacks.

Last week, the US issued separate stark warnings against dealing with entities operating in China’s western Xinjiang region, where China is accused of oppressing Uyghur Muslims and other minorities.

The government also informed US companies of the deteriorating investment and trade climate in Hong Kong, where China is cracking down on the democratic freedoms it promised to respect in the former British colony.

At the same time, the administration confirmed a Trump-era policy change that rejects nearly all of China’s major maritime claims in the South China Sea and reminded Beijing that any military action against the Philippines in disputed areas would provoke a response under a US-Philippines mutual defense treaty.

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