No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions

No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions
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Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to China to meet with officials there in the coming days amid high tensions between Washington and Beijing.

“These discussions are part of ongoing U.S. efforts to hold candid exchanges with PRC officials to advance U.S. interests and values and to responsibly manage the relationship,” the State Department said Wednesday. “The Deputy Secretary will discuss areas where we have serious concerns about PRC actions, as well as areas where our interests align.”

Sherman is expected to meet with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and other officials while in Tianjin on Monday and Tuesday. The trip will come at the end of Sherman’s trip to Asia. She is also visiting Japan, South Korea and Mongolia and will travel to Oman after the meetings with Chinese officials. 

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The meeting is likely to be tense, taking place just days after the U.S. and several other nations publicly blamed hackers linked to the Chinese government for the Microsoft Exchange Server breach as part of a broader effort to admonish Beijing for aggression in cyberspace. The Biden administration has also sought to punish China over its human rights abuses and repression in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Sherman and Chinese officials may also discuss areas of potential cooperation, like climate change, where the Biden administration hopes to be able to work with Beijing.

The trip to China had been rumored before Sherman departed for Tokyo earlier this week.

The meeting will be the first time that senior U.S. officials meet face-to-face with the Chinese since the tense meeting between Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenKuwaiti government bans unvaccinated citizens from traveling outside country Swastika found carved in State Department elevator Biden should reconsider planned reversal of bipartisan US policy on Jerusalem MORE and President BidenJoe BidenRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE’s national security adviser, Jake SullivanJake SullivanBiden walks fine line with Fox News US delegation departs Haiti after reports of gunshots at ex-president's funeral No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions MORE, met with Wang Yi and the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign affairs chief, Yang Jiechi, in Anchorage in March. 

Sherman will also be the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit China since he took office in January. White House climate envoy John KerryJohn KerryEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions US and Germany launch climate partnership MORE also traveled to Shanghai in April to meet with Chinese officials about climate change.