The State Department on Thursday released an itinerary for Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s upcoming tour of Asia. Media reports said Sherman was expected to visit China, but the country is missing from the list.
The State Department said from July 18th to July 25th, Sherman would visit South Korea, Japan, and Mongolia. “Throughout the trip, the Deputy Secretary will reaffirm the US commitment to working with allies and partners to promote peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and to upholding the international rules-based order,” the release said.
Upholding the so-called “rules-based order” is the language Washington now uses to describe its efforts to counter China, and rallying allies against Beijing is key to the Biden administration’s hardline China policies.
On Wednesday, The South China Morning Post cited an unnamed source who said Sherman would be visiting China next week to lay the groundwork for a potential in-person meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Biden. But with China missing from the itinerary, it’s unlikely that the visit will happen.
The last time high-level US and Chinese officials met face-to-face was back in March in Anchorage, Alaska. Secretary of State Antony Blinken opened the talks by accusing China of threatening the “rules-based order,” and things quickly fell apart from there. The Alaska summit put on display the low state of US-China relations.