US and Chinese officials meet in Malta to discuss Ukraine and other flashpoints | Albiseyler

US and Chinese officials meet in Malta to discuss Ukraine and other flashpoints

The White House made the announcement to its national security adviser on Sunday they met at the weekend with China’s top diplomat in Malta as part of efforts to keep communication open between the two nations and at a time when a political purge is roiling elite circles in Beijing.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, met with Wang Yi, the Communist Party’s top foreign policy official and China’s foreign minister, on Saturday and Sunday, the White House said in its summary of the meeting. The summary said they discussed relations between the two nations, Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, a de facto independent democratic island that the party seeks to rule and is an important US partner.

A senior White House official told reporters in a telephone briefing on Sunday that Mr Sullivan reiterated US concerns about recent Chinese military actions around Taiwan and other coercive activities and said any disputes or conflicts must be resolved peacefully.

The US official also said Mr Sullivan stressed that China should not seek to help Russia in its war in Ukraine. At the heart of these concerns is an assessment by US intelligence that China has been considering sending weapons to President Vladimir V. Putin for his war since the winter. U.S. officials announced the findings in late February and confronted Chinese officials about them at the time. A White House official said China has so far refrained from sending any substantial weapons.

A summary released by the Chinese government on Sunday said Mr. Wang had emphasized that the Taiwan issue was a “red line” for China, language consistent with a long-standing view among Chinese leaders. The summary also said the officials discussed matters related to the Asia-Pacific region, the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine, as well as arrangements for “personnel exchanges” between the two nations.

A White House summary said Mr Sullivan and Mr Wang agreed that the two governments would “pursue further high-level engagement and consultation in key areas”. In recent weeks, US officials have said they are trying to arrange a meeting between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an international summit in San Francisco in November. However, recent developments, particularly within the Chinese government and party, cast doubt on whether this will happen.

Questions swirl around recent purges at the highest levels of the Chinese government and Communist Party. U.S. officials determined last week that General Li Shangfu, China’s defense minister, who has not made a public appearance or statement since late August, was under investigation for corruption. In July, Mr. Xi abruptly ousted Qin Gang, the foreign minister, and announced that Mr. Wang, who had held the ministerial post before being elevated to the party’s top foreign policy post, would take over Mr. Qin’s duties.

U.S. intelligence agencies are working hard to try to gain insight into the current leadership conflicts as part of a much broader spying shadow war and intelligence-gathering campaign between the United States and China.

Since the spy balloon crisis earlier this year, Mr. Biden has sought to have his top officials engage in high-level diplomacy with counterparts in Beijing to bring stability to the relationship, however tenuous.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken traveled to Beijing in June for two days of meetings, mainly one-on-one talks with Mr. Xi, Mr. Wang and Mr. Qin, after canceling the trip during the balloon episode in early February. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen went to Beijing soon after and even made headlines by dining at a popular restaurant in the Sanlitun district. which serves exotic mushroom dishes. She was followed by John Kerry, the special climate envoy, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

When Mr. Blinken traveled to Beijing, his aides said the summer trips were part of a series of high-level visits by officials from the two countries, the world’s two largest economies. But in recent weeks, U.S. officials have said they don’t expect cabinet-level Chinese officials to travel to Washington anytime soon. Instead, they focused on trying to set up a potential autumn meeting between Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi on the sidelines of November’s summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders.

But U.S. officials say that’s not certain, and Chinese officials often don’t give final approval to important diplomatic negotiations until the last minute to try to exert leverage with the other nation.

Mr Xi faces domestic political problems as China’s economy slows, raising doubts about the country’s prospects for continued growth. At the same time, a growing number of Chinese citizens in elite circles are complaining about the country’s direction, criticizing Mr. Xi Jinping’s recent policies as well as his relentless promotion of party ideology and trumpeting his own personal place in party history.

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