US and Chinese security officials meet in Zurich
Top American and Chinese diplomats are meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday in talks aimed at smoothing tensions between the two powers.
The meeting between US national security advisor Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi comes at a time of “heightened tensions between the world’s two largest economies”, according to Reuters.
Sullivan and Jiechi will follow up on a September 9 phone call between Presidents Biden and Jinping, according to a White House statementExternal link, which added that the US objective is to “responsibly manage the competition” between the countries.
President Biden has repeatedly said he does not want conflict with China, although various contentious issues persist, both economic and security, notably relating to Taiwan.
On Monday, the White House had criticised Beijing over several days of military activity in Taiwanese airspace. China, which claims ownership of the island, blames the US for increased tensions in the area.
As for what exactly is on the agenda in Zurich, this is not clear, although there has been rumours of an imminent presidential summit.
“I think the hope is that it will lead to a Biden-Xi Jinping meeting, which may have to be virtual,” Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States told Reuters.
Sullivan will travel to Brussels after the Zurich talks to meet NATO and EU officials, before going to Paris – the latest step in US diplomatic efforts to smooth relations after a cancelled submarine deal last month caused tensions with France.
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