Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit China this weekend, where she will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the State Department said on Wednesday. Sherman will be in China on July 25th and 26th after visiting South Korea, Japan, and Mongolia.
“These discussions are part of ongoing US efforts to hold candid exchanges with PRC [People’s Republic of China] officials to advance US interests and values and to responsibly manage the relationship. The Deputy Secretary will discuss areas where we have serious concerns about PRC actions, as well as areas where our interests align,” the State Department said in a press release.
The visit comes as tensions are soaring between the US and China. The last high-level meeting between US and Chinese officials took place in March, when Wang held in-person talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Anchorage, Alaska. The Anchorage summit quickly turned hostile and put on display the low state of US-China relations.
The South China Morning Post first reported Sherman’s possible visit to China last week. Sources told the Post that Sherman will also meet with Xie Feng, China’s foreign vice-minister, to discuss setting up another Blinken-Wang meeting.
The Post report said Sherman’s visit could also pave the way to a summit between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. After Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the White House was considering setting up talks between Biden and Xi.
While the US appears to be pursuing some diplomacy with Beijing, the Biden administration continues to implement hardline China policies. Last week, the US announced more sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong and issued new advisories warning against US companies doing business in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.