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Biden admin meeting with China for first time next week in Alaska

President of China Xi Jinping. (Kremlin/Released)
March 10, 2021

Top U.S. and Chinese foreign policy officials will meet in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday and Friday of next week to discuss a range of issues affecting U.S.-China relations, the State Department announced Wednesday.

The Anchorage meeting will reportedly take place with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan meeting with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Politburo of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. The meeting will be the first formal sit-down between Biden administration officials and Chinese officials since Biden took office.

China has been seeking a meeting with the U.S. since December.

“The goal will be to compare notes on what each of our hopes and plans are for domestic politics, what our goals are internationally, regionally and globally,” the official told the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. and Chinese officials will reportedly discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, as well as China’s legislative takeover of Hong Kong last Summer and its increasing pressure on Taiwan. The meeting will also reportedly address China’s unofficial economic embargoes against Australia.

Biden is also set to represent the U.S. in a virtual meeting with Australia, India and Japan this Friday in a meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries, known as “The Quad.”

In a Feb. 4 speech before the State Department, Biden said under his presidency, the U.S. will “confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive, coercive action, to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance.” Biden then said, “But we are ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s interests to do so.”

Biden and Xi spoke over the phone for the first time in Biden’s presidency on Feb. 10. According to a White House readout of the call, during the two-hour phone call, Biden raised “his priorities of protecting the American people’s security, prosperity, health, and way of life, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific” and “underscored his fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.”

Asked on Tuesday a potential summit between Biden and Xi, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “There’ll be a range of engagements that the President and his National Security team will have with China and other countries in the region in the months and years ahead, but we are directly engaged. There are a range of issues we, of course, have talked with the Chinese about through those engagements. We don’t hold back about our concerns, but we also look for opportunities to work together.”