The White House made an announcement on Sunday regarding a meeting between its national security adviser and China’s top diplomat in Malta. This meeting was held to maintain open communication between the two nations amidst political purges within elite circles in Beijing.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, engaged in discussions with Wang Yi, the Communist Party’s top foreign policy official and China’s foreign minister. The talks focused on bilateral relations, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and the tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan. Taiwan, being a de facto independent democratic island and an important U.S. partner, is a subject of concern for both parties.
During a telephone briefing, a senior White House official emphasized American concerns about recent Chinese military activities near Taiwan and other coercive acts. Mr. Sullivan expressed the importance of resolving disputes and conflicts peacefully.
Furthermore, Mr. Sullivan highlighted that China should not support Russia in its war on Ukraine. The U.S. has intelligence suggesting that China has been considering providing weaponry to President Vladimir V. Putin since winter. However, as of now, China has refrained from sending substantial weaponry.
The White House summary also outlined Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Wang’s agreement to pursue additional high-level engagement and consultations on key issues. Efforts have been made to arrange a meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping, China’s leader, during an international summit in San Francisco this November. However, recent developments and political purges within the Chinese government and the Communist Party have raised doubts regarding this meeting.
Significant questions surround recent purges in the upper echelons of the Chinese government and the Communist Party. General Li Shangfu, the Chinese defense minister, has been placed under investigation for corruption. In July, Mr. Qin Gang, the foreign minister, was abruptly ousted, and Mr. Wang took over his duties as the foreign policy chief within the party. U.S. intelligence agencies are actively involved in assessing the leadership conflicts within China and engaging in a broader espionage and intelligence collection campaign.
President Biden has made an effort to establish stability in U.S.-China relations since the spy balloon crisis earlier this year. His top officials, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, John Kerry, the special climate envoy, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, have engaged in high-level diplomacy with their Chinese counterparts.
During Mr. Blinken’s visit, it was stated that these summer trips were part of a series of high-level exchanges between the world’s two largest economies. However, recent indications suggest that cabinet-level Chinese officials are unlikely to visit Washington in the near future. Efforts are instead focused on arranging a potential meeting between President Biden and Mr. Xi during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in November.
The certainty of this meeting is uncertain as Chinese officials often delay giving final agreement to important diplomatic meetings to exert leverage on the other nation.
Mr. Xi is currently grappling with internal political issues while China’s economy is slowing down, raising concerns about the nation’s future growth. Additionally, more Chinese citizens in elite circles are expressing discontent with the country’s direction, privately criticizing Mr. Xi’s recent policies and his emphasis on party ideology and personal status within party history.
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