Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for “in-depth” and “comprehensive” Sino-American dialogue to stabilise bilateral relations on Thursday, just before his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.
China and the US “share important common interests and we face challenges that we need to respond to together”, Wang said. It has been widely expected that his three-day visit to Washington would secure the summit between Xi and Biden.
Blinken said he looked forward to “constructive” conversations with Wang Yi over the next few days and that he agreed with the foreign minister’s remarks.
Wang will also meet National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday to maintain the “strategic channel of communication”, according to the White House. Sullivan and Wang met in Vienna in May and Malta in September.
Biden is expected to speak with Wang on Friday as well, Reuters reported, citing two US officials. In June, Blinken met with Xi while in Beijing.
Top American officials have also travelled to Beijing this year in a concerted effort to smooth relations, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and climate envoy John Kerry.
Neither side has confirmed Xi’s attendance at the Apec summit next month. Were he to attend, it would be Xi’s first trip to the US since April 2017.
Regarding the Middle East conflict, Washington has asked Beijing to use its influence to stop it from spreading, a goal it said both sides shared. China has called for a ceasefire and presented itself as a possible peacekeeper in the intensifying conflict.
The resolution called for pauses in fighting to permit humanitarian aid access; the protection of civilians; and a stop to arming Hamas and other militants in Gaza.
“We hope the US side will work with China in the same direction, shorten that negative list, expand that positive agenda, and bring China-US relations back to the right track of sound and stable growth,” Xie said.
As a reminder of the distrust and hostility China faces in Washington, two House Republicans issued a statement opposed to Wang’s visit.
Michael McCaul of Texas, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Young Kim of California, who heads the Indo-Pacific subcommittee, described the trip as “the first time a Chinese foreign minister has visited the United States since 2019”.
Additional reporting by Bochen Han and Robert Delaney in Washington