Anthony Blinken arrives in China to try to ease diplomatic tensions

The Secretary of State will meet with senior Chinese officials as part of a visit that has few expectations in the Biden Administration.

Anthony Blinken landed in China to try to mend diplomatic relations with the United States after months of tensions related to Taiwan. According to the State Department, there are few expectations for this brief visit; its main objective is to reestablish direct communication channels between both countries, mainly between the military in Beijing and Washington, DC.

Initially, the trip was scheduled for February but was postponed due to the episode with the Chinese balloon that circulated over the United States. According to the official then, “it created the conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip.”

“While in Beijing, Secretary Blinken will meet with senior PRC officials where he will discuss the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the U.S.-PRC relationship. He will also raise bilateral issues of concern, global and regional matters, and potential cooperation on shared transnational challenges,” the Biden Administration said.

Blinken’s main objective is to resume normal channels of communication with the Asian giant to avoid potential conflicts. However, a State Department official spoke to reporters before the trip and confessed that they do not expect “a long list of results.”

“What we’re working to do on this trip is to really carry forward what President (Joe) Biden and President Xi (Jinping) agreed to in Bali at the end of last year, which was to establish sustained, regular lines of communication at senior levels across our governments precisely so that we can make sure that we are communicating as clearly as possible to avoid, as best possible, misunderstandings and miscommunications,” the official assured on Friday, June 16, hours before his departure.

It is unclear whether Xi-Jinping is on that list of “senior officials” with whom Blinken will meet. When his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, visited China in 2018, he met with the current general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.