US State Department Sends Senior Official on Rare Visit to China

The US State Department announced Saturday in a statement that a senior US official will visit China on Sunday as part of Washington’s efforts to ease tensions between the two countries.

This was reported in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. statement Daniel Kreitenbrink, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will visit China and New Zealand from June 4 to 10.

Kreitenbrink was accompanied on his visit to Beijing by Sarah Biran, Director of China and Taiwan Affairs at the National Security Council, to discuss major bilateral issues.

Agence France-Presse said the “rare visit” came after Washington made efforts in recent weeks to improve relations with China.

During a recent visit to Japan, US President Joe Biden predicted a “very soon improvement” in relations between Washington and Beijing.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated on Saturday that dialogue between the U.S. and China is “essential” to avoid miscalculations that could lead to conflict after Beijing refused to hold a formal meeting between him and his Chinese counterpart.

“The United States believes that open lines of communication with the People’s Republic of China are important, especially between the military and defense establishments of the two countries,” Austin said during a speech at the Shangri-La conference in Singapore.

He added: “The more we talk, the more we can avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations that could lead to a crisis or conflict.”

A member of the Chinese delegation confirmed to AFP that the lifting of US sanctions on Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is a precondition for talks.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have escalated in the months following the meeting between Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during the G20 summit held on the Indonesian island of Bali in November.

Causes of tension include the case of Taiwan, which China considers an integral part of its territory, and the downing of a Chinese balloon that flew over the US this year.

Source: RT+agencies

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