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US sending high-level delegation to China to prepare for Blinken’s visit

A high-level US
delegation will travel to China next week to follow up on
President Joe Biden’s recent talks with Chinese counterpart Xi
Jinping and prepare for Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s
visit there early next year, the US State Department has said.

The US announcement on Saturday follows comments by a senior White
House official that China wants stabilised relations with the
United States in the short term as it faces domestic economic
challenges and pushback in Asia to its assertive diplomacy.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific
Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior
Director for China and Taiwan Laura Rosenberger will travel to
China, South Korea and Japan from December 11-14, the State
Department said in a statement.

US President Biden and China’s Xi engaged in blunt talks over Taiwan and North Korea on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia in mid-November, a meeting aimed at preventing strained US-China ties from spilling into a new Cold War.

The two leaders pledged more frequent communications at a
time of simmering differences also on human rights, Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine and economic issues.

READ MORE: US, China defence chiefs hold talks on sidelines of ASEAN gathering

‘Managing competition’

The State Department said the delegation will follow up on
the meeting “to continue responsibly managing the competition
between our two countries and to explore potential areas of
cooperation” and will also lay the groundwork for Blinken’s
visit.

Frustrations over China’s strict Covid-19 protocols boiled
over into widespread protests last month, the biggest show of
public discontent since Xi came to power in 2012.

The rules had
contributed to a slowing economy.

White House Asia-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on
Thursday that those issues, coupled with perceptions that China
had antagonised many of its neighbours, meant it was interested
in more predictable ties with Washington in the “short term.”

Campbell was speaking to an Aspen Security Forum event in Washington two days after the United States announced plans to step up its rotational military presence in key region ally Australia amid shared concerns about China.

READ MORE: Biden-Xi meeting: Will it succeed in mending strained US-China ties?

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