To bring down the temperature, Antony Blinken has arrived in Beijing.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Beijing on a crucial diplomatic trip to try to defuse escalating tensions between the US and China that have many people on edge throughout the world. Blinken is also the first US Secretary of State to visit Beijing in five years.

Blinken is anticipated to hold a crucial meeting to stabilise a relationship under significant strain during his two-day visit to China. It also follows his cancellation of a trip to Beijing in February following the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon over the US.

According to US sources, Blinken has scheduled meetings with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, the Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Sunday, and the top diplomat Wang Yi. In accordance with a statement from the State Department, Secretary Blinken will also meet with senior PRC officials. During these meetings, he will emphasise the value of keeping lines of communication open in order to manage the US-PRC relationship responsibly. Additionally, he will bring up bilateral concerns, global and regional challenges, as well as future collaboration on common global concerns.

In separate conversations with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts before to his journey to China, Blinken emphasised the value of “sustained… trilateral cooperation.” The discussions took place at a time when North Korea has increased its missile tests over the past year and Tokyo is under increasing pressure from Chinese ships near islands that Beijing and Tokyo are fighting over.
Blinken informed South Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin on Friday of the United States’ “ironclad commitment” to its defence, according to a statement from State Department spokesman Matthew Miller on Saturday.

There have been a few high-level interactions since Blinken’s trip was postponed in February. May saw the journey to China of CIA Director William Burns, the US visit of China’s commerce minister, and a meeting in Vienna between Yi and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser. These have, however, been punctuated by irate exchanges between the two sides regarding the Taiwan Strait, their larger plans for the Indo-Pacific, China’s refusal to condemn Russia for its war against Ukraine, and American allegations that Beijing is attempting to enhance its global surveillance capabilities, including in Cuba. Furthermore, China’s military minister earlier this month rejected Lloyd Austin’s request for a meeting outside of a security conference in Singapore, a sign of continued discontent.

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