Top US, EU diplomats to sync up strategy in confronting China

The Biden administration is working with the European Union to align their strategies on dealing with China, an effort to project unity between the transatlantic allies in the face of Beijing’s “concerning” behavior, a State Department official said Wednesday.  

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will meet with her European counterpart, Secretary General Stefano Sannino, in Washington on Thursday as part of the U.S. and E.U. dialogue on China, marking the second group meeting since an earlier discussion was held in May. 

Sherman has taken on the role of point person for U.S. foreign policy surrounding China and engagement with Beijing. In July, she became the first senior official to visit mainland China, and has carried out a deliberate travel schedule meant to shore up alliances with Europe and Asian countries in an effort to counter Beijing’s global influence and ambitions. 

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The focus of the Deputy Secretary’s meeting with Sannino will be to preview the U.S.’s forthcoming Indo-Pacific strategy, the State Department official said in a briefing with reporters, in an effort to better align Washington with Brussels' own, recently released Indo-Pacific strategy.  

“They will discuss areas of cooperation and synergies between the strategies,” the official said. 

A joint statement is expected to be released following the meeting, which the official said would be “robust” and focused on unity between the U.S. and E.U. and calling out challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). 

“We know we must engage the PRC from a position of strength. That requires working with allies and partners multilaterally and in bilateral frameworks like the discussions this week, because our combined weight is much harder for the PRC to ignore,” the official said. 

Areas of confrontation between the U.S. and E.U. with China include economic and technology issues, human rights, multilateralism, disinformation, and security, the official said.

The group will also look to advance areas of cooperation with Beijing, such as on climate change and on issues that are “consequential in the bilateral relationship,” a second State Department official said. 

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The official said the U.S. has managed in recent months to secure the release of a small number of American citizens who were subject to “coercive exit bans,” withholding the names for privacy reasons, and that the Deputy Secretary raised with Chinese officials the case of every American arbitrarily detained or subject to an exit ban. 

“We have had some progress on small but important and persistent concerns in recent months,” the official said.

Another area viewed as a success was President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion The Fed has a clear mandate to mitigate climate risks Biden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' MORE’s announcement last month tha the U.S. and China would implement a media access agreement, following a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  

The agreement allows U.S. journalists back into China who previously had their visas revoked, and extends visas for Chinese journalists in the U.S. for up to a year. 

Following the U.S. and E.U. dialogue, Sherman and Sannino will give virtual remarks on Friday to the Brookings Institution on transatlantic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.