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Amid heightened tensions, senior US and Chinese officials meet in Switzerland


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White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi meet in Zurich, Switzerland on Wednesday to restart dialogue between the two powers, amid heightened tensions.

Dialogue continues between the United States and China. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan is meeting Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday (October 6) in Switzerland for talks as part of the two countries’ pledge to foster dialogue.

The scheduled Zurich meeting comes amid heightened tensions over a range of issues between the world’s two biggest economic powers, including trade, human rights and Taiwan.

According to the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, citing a representative familiar with the preparations, the Zurich meeting aims to “rebuild the channels of communication and implement the consensus reached” by the two presidents.

The United States “seeks to responsibly manage competition” between the two countries, continues the White House.

First exchange since the phone call

This is the first physical meeting between Jake Sullivan and Yang Jiechi since their heated exchanges last March, in Alaska, during the first high-level meeting between representatives of the administration of US President Joe Biden and representatives of Beijing.

The meeting also follows last month’s telephone interview between Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, saying in a statement that Washington continues to “seek to responsibly manage competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China”.

This September 9 telephone exchange ended nearly seven months without direct communications between the two heads of state, who stressed the need to ensure that competition between the two countries does not turn into conflict.

The White House has indicated that Jake Sullivan will also be traveling to Brussels, to meet with representatives from NATO and the European Union, and to Paris. He is expected to inform European representatives of the content of his discussions with Yang Jiechi.

Washington is thus sending a message of good will, at a time when some of its allies observe with some concern, even irritation, the way in which the Americans are now deploying their diplomatic efforts towards Asia.

No concrete progress since Biden’s inauguration

In addition, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, visiting Paris for meetings of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said she hoped to be able to meet with her Chinese counterparts soon, while the The Biden administration unveiled its trade strategy towards China on Monday.

Discussions between American and Chinese representatives organized since Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House last January have not allowed for concrete progress. According to US officials, the telephone conversation between Biden and Xi was to be used to determine whether very high-level discussions could break the impasse.

>> To read: With China, Joe Biden follows in Donald Trump’s footsteps, except for the method

Joe Biden denied a press article according to which Xi Jinping refused to take part in a bilateral summit proposed by the American president, while the hypothesis of a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit circulated in Italy at the end of the month.

With AFP and Reuters


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