US envoy bids to ease situation with Beijing

World | REUTERS 23 Jul 2021

America's deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, will visit China on Sunday and Monday as the two nations seek to navigate their troubled relationship.

Sherman will meet with state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi plus other officials in Tianjin.

Her visit follows stops in Japan, South Korea and Mongolia as part of a second trip to Asia in two months.

The Tianjin talks will be "part of ongoing US efforts to hold candid exchanges ... to advance US interests and values and to responsibly manage the relationship," the State Department said.

And Sherman would "discuss areas where we have serious concerns about PRC actions as well as areas where our interests align."

The Sherman visit was anticipated but was not announced along with the rest of her trip last week.

It could help set the stage for further exchanges and a meeting between leaders Xi Jinping and Joe Biden - possibly on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Italy in October.

A US official said the aim of the Sherman meetings was "to have substantive and constructive exchanges with senior PRC officials, and that's exactly what we believe we're going have with Wang Yi."

In Beijing, a foreign ministry official said China will take a "firm attitude in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests."

Also, "China will demand the US side stop interfering in China's internal affairs and harming China's interests."

Sherman's meeting is in Tianjin rather than Beijing because of considerations about Covid-19 prevention.

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