Jake Sullivan Meets With China’s Top Diplomat in Vienna

The meeting marks the highest-level in-person engagement between the two sides since Biden met Xi in Bali last November

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with China’s top diplomat for two days in Vienna this week, marking the highest level of in-person engagement between the two nations since President Biden and President Xi Jinping held talks in Bali last November.

According to a White House readout, Sullivan and Wang Yi, director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission, met from May 10-11 and held “candid, substantive, and constructive discussions on key issues in the US-China bilateral relationship.”

The readout said the topics discussed included “global and regional security issues, Russia’s war against Ukraine,” and Taiwan. “This meeting was part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition,” the White House said.

According to China’s Xinhua news agency, Wang and Sullivan held “candid, in-depth, substantive and constructive” discussions in Vienna. “The two sides held discussions on removing obstacles in China-US relations and stabilizing the relationship from deterioration,” Xinhua said.

Wang also expressed “China’s solemn position on the Taiwan question,” which has been a major source of tensions as the US has been increasing support for Taipei. According to both readouts, the two sides agreed to maintain communication.

The US and China made a point to hold high-level talks after the Biden-Xi meeting, but the progress was reversed after Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned trip to China over the Chinese balloon that wound up in US airspace in February. Beijing effectively froze high-level talks with Washington after Blinken called off his visit.

The Sullivan-Wang meeting came after Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke with US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on Monday. Qin told Burns that in order to foster communication, the US must respect China’s positions, including its red line on Taiwan.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.