China’s top diplomat to visit Washington this week

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi will visit Washington, DC, later this week, senior administration officials said Monday ahead of a potential meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in California next month.

Wang will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security Adviser Jake Sullivan during his trip to the US capital October 26-28, the officials said.

They would not say if Wang will meet with Biden. However, Blinken met with Xi while in Beijing and one of the officials described Wang’s trip as “a reciprocal visit after Secretary Blinken’s trip to Beijing in June.”

Tensions between the two countries have been high but the Biden administration has been making an effort to push dialog with Beijing. Wang’s trip comes as the US is looking to prevent the Israel-Hamas war escalating into a wider conflict in the Middle East and as the Ukraine-Russia war continues.

“This visit by Wang Yi is part of ongoing efforts to maintain open channels of communication with China across the full range of issues,” the official said.

US officials are expected to discuss “the South and East China Seas, cross-Strait issues, the Middle East, Russia’s war in Ukraine, North Korea’s provocations,” among other issues with Wang.

The official would not go into details about what the messaging to Wang will be on Israel-Hamas war beyond saying that they’re “watching the situation very closely and that will in part dictate the contours of that conversation on Thursday and Friday.”

Blinken spoke with Wang on October 14 and urged Beijing to use its relationships with countries in the Middle East to stop the war in Israel from spreading, a senior State Department official said at the time.

The senior administration official said the resumption of military to military relations remained a priority.

“If we’re going to continue to manage this relationship and our competition responsibly, if we’re truly going to minimize the risk of miscalculation that could veer into conflict, we have to get our mil-mil ties fully open,” the official said. “There have been some sporadic engagements between our two defense establishments in the last couple of months, but what we need is sustained mil-mil dialogue and the communication channels. And those aren’t yet established, but I can assure you that it’ll be on the agenda for Wang Yi’s visit.”

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