U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wants to reschedule the meeting with China, but he’s getting the cold shoulder from the Southeast Asian nation.
In February, the Biden administration decided to cancel Blinken’s scheduled trip to Beijing in response to a Chinese spy balloon crossing U.S. airspace but has since attempted to resume high-level talks.
According to a former State Department official and a current U.S. official, part of those attempts include rescheduling Blinken’s visit and arranging travel for other top U.S. officials, as well as setting up a phone call between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But these attempts aren’t having the desired effect as China continues to resist the U.S.’s efforts.
Instead, Beijing has insisted its willingness to resume prior engagements will hinge on a meeting Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will have with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy scheduled for Wednesday (April 6) in California, a meeting Beijing vehemently opposes.
Beijing’s current reluctance to pursue high-level engagement underscores the particularly sour nature of relations between the U.S. and China in recent months.
What was once a bilateral pursuit to stabilize increasingly volatile relations has become increasingly one-sided, with Washington being the pursuer as Beijing takes on the role of the distance.
Beijing remains angered by U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and contact between officials, which China says encourages pro-independence elements in Taiwan.
There is always some diplomatic theater involved in canceling high-level meetings between the U.S. and China. But maintaining stable relations with major adversaries such as China and Russia is a long-standing priority for the U.S.
But, that priority hangs in the balance, largely depending on whether Beijing decides to reschedule the Blinked visit.