Wendy Sherman will meet with officials of the Xi Jinping regime as part of the US efforts to promote a more fluid relationship between the two countries.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit China on July 25 and 26. The State Department reported Wednesday, when the world's two largest economies are trying to navigate a bilateral relationship. Deeply troublesome.
Sherman, the second State Department official, will meet with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials in Tianjin city, southeast of Beijing.
Sherman's arrival will follow Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia as part of his second visit to Asia in less than two months. The State Department said the deputy secretary would also travel to Oman on July 27.
The talks with China will be "part of the continuing efforts of the United States to maintain frank exchanges ... to promote the interests and values of the United States and manage the relationship responsibly, " the State Department said in a statement.
Using the acronym for China's official name, the People's Republic of China, he indicated that Sherman "would discuss the areas where we have serious concerns about the PRC's actions, as well as the areas where our interests align ."
Sherman's visit to China has been anticipated in foreign policy circles but was not announced along with the rest of his trip last week.
It could help pave the way for further exchanges and a possible meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this year, possibly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Italy in October.
The South China Morning Post of Hong Kong reported last week that China had planned to Xie Feng, deputy foreign minister, met with Sherman. Still, both sides were discussing the details of the protocol.
"Our high-level engagement is a precious resource, so we wanted to ensure that we would have substantive and constructive exchanges with senior PRC officials," a senior US administration official told the media.
"That is exactly what we think we are going to achieve with this meeting that we are going to have with Wang Yi," he added.
North Korea, climate change, and Iran are shared concerns that China will hope to progress on, despite a complicated relationship that has sunk ties to their worst in decades.
"We are certainly having discussions about possible ways to work together on common issues," said a second senior official.
Biden has stepped up sanctions on China for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong and targeted more Chinese officials last week. But, unlike former President Donald Trump, he has also tried to rally allies and partners to help counter what the White House says is China's increasingly coercive foreign and economic policy.
In April, Biden's climate envoy John Kerry visited Shanghai, becoming the highest-ranking US official to travel to China during the Biden administration.
But otherwise, the two sides have had few high-level face-to-face contacts since a combative first diplomatic meeting under the Biden administration, held in March in Alaska, in which top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi criticized the US part, arguing that it carried out a hegemonic foreign policy and a democracy in difficulties.
The United States accused China of being bombastic.
Last Friday, the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC leaders, including Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese Xi, pledged to work to expand the exchange and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic.