US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Malta, where they discussed a potential leaders’ meeting and other issues in the relationship, according to a US official.
(Bloomberg) — US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Malta, where they discussed a potential leaders’ meeting and other issues in the relationship, according to a US official.
The talks, which concluded Sunday, come at a critical time in US-China relations. Wang is scheduled to visit Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week, while other world leaders and their aides are heading to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Xi and Wang are skipping the UN summit.
Wang was recently named foreign minister after Chinese President Xi Jinping unexpectedly ousted his predecessor, Qin Gang, who hasn’t been seen in public in weeks.
President Joe Biden is expected to meet Xi later this year when he hosts an APEC leaders’ summit in San Francisco in November.
During the two days of talks, Wang reiterated that China considers Taiwan a red line in the relationship, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said in a statement. The two sides also agreed to consultations on the Asia-Pacific region, maritime affairs and foreign policies, according to the Chinese readout.
“This meeting was part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the relationship,” the White House said in a statement. “The United States noted the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Sullivan and Wang last met in May for two days of talks in Vienna, Austria. They discussed regional issues as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and matters relating to the Taiwan Strait, which have been a persistent flashpoint in the relationship.
The White House has called out China for its increasingly risky military maneuvers in the South China Sea. China maintains that Taiwan is part of the mainland and must be reunified with it, by force if necessary.
China has tried to take a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, but the US unveiled intelligence this year as part of its accusation that Beijing is providing non-lethal aid to Moscow. The White House warned Beijing not to cross a line with lethal assistance, which US officials at the time said China was considering providing but hasn’t followed through on.
Biden hasn’t spoken to Xi since last year’s Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Earlier this year, he predicted a thaw in the relationship and Biden has since dispatched five cabinet members to Beijing for talks with their counterparts.
–With assistance from Jacob Gu.
(Updates with Chinese and White House statements starting in fifth paragraph.)
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