Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Beijing this weekend to discuss U.S.-China relations during a time of heightened tensions.

The State Department said Blinken would visit with senior officials in Beijing to speak about “the importance of maintaining open lines of communication” to responsibly manage their relationship, as well as “bilateral issues of concern, global and regional matters, and potential cooperation on shared transnational challenges.”

“We look forward to having a series of meetings with senior officials in Beijing, building on the engagements that we’ve had with the (People’s Republic of China) since President Biden and President Xi met in Bali late last year,” Blinken said at a press conference Friday with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Blinken said the trip has three objectives: to establish “open and empowered communications” about challenges, misperceptions and avoiding miscalculations; advance the interests and values of the U.S. and its allies; and explore opportunities for cooperation on areas of common interest, like global economic stability, illicit synthetic drugs, climate and global health.

“Intense competition requires sustained diplomacy to ensure that competition does not veer into confrontation or conflict,” he said. “That is what the world expects both of the United States and China.”

Blinken spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang by phone earlier this week. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said they spoke about maintaining open lines of communication and “a range of bilateral and global issues.”

Miller said Blinken “made clear the U.S. would continue to use diplomatic engagements to raise areas of concern as well as areas of potential cooperation.”

In Latin America, Lee finds growing influence of China
View Comments

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., a member of the bipartisan House Committee on China, told NPR he hopes the U.S. and China can again have regularized communication.

“There needs to be a time when we’re just having a regularized communication between, again, the two most powerful countries in the world,” Kim said. “What I hope we can get out of this is reestablishing some type of military-to-military channel, at least. I’ve seen way too many circumstances in my time in national security where just an incident or an accident or a misunderstanding can completely flare up and get out of control.”

Mitt Romney presses White House for China policy while administration extends olive branch

The trip to China will be Blinken’s first as secretary of state as well as the first visit to China by a top member of the Biden administration, according to NPR. Blinken’s earlier planned visit to China was rescheduled after the U.S. shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon in February. In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Joe Biden said the U.S. was seeking competition, not conflict with China, and that the U.S. would work with China where it could advance American interests.

After his stop in Beijing, Blinken will head to London for the Ukraine Recovery Conference where he’s expected to meet his counterparts from the U.K., Ukraine, and allied nations.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.