Washington: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R Sherman will travel to China next week, an official said, as part of the country’s ongoing effort to hold candid exchanges with Chinese officials to responsibly manage the “incredibly consequential bilateral relationship”.
During her visit, she will discuss areas where the US has serious concerns about Chinese actions, as well as areas where their interests align, an official release said.
“The Deputy (Secretary) will travel to the People’s Republic of China on July 25th. She will travel there after her stops in Tokyo and Seoul and Ulaanbaatar as well,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
In China, she will take part in meetings in Tianjin where she will meet with Chinese officials. China has confirmed an in-person meeting with State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he said.
“These discussions, as we’ve said, are part of an ongoing US effort to hold candid exchanges with PRC officials, designed to advance US interests and values and overall, to allow us to responsibly manage this incredibly consequential bilateral relationship,” he added.
Price said, “We said earlier this week, before we were in a position to confirm the trip, that the deputy would be prepared to travel if her engagement there would be substantive, constructive; if it were indeed to be a forum and a venue for us to accomplish what we seek to accomplish, and that is to advance US interests, to explore and to discuss how we can manage this relationship responsibly, and how we can address the competition… stiff competition that we welcome with the PRC.”
He said the US believes that this meeting has the potential to be substantive and constructive.
“In the context of relationships that are complex, that are challenging, that are dynamic, we believe it’s important to maintain open lines of communication between high-level officials, and that includes in times of, as in the case with the PRC, sustained competition, even when the PRC is taking actions that challenge our interests, that challenge our values. And these are shared interests,” Price said.
“These are shared values, And so, I think it’s important in that context to note that the deputy will be travelling to the PRC, after having visited Japan, after having visited the Republic of Korea, after having visited Mongolia as well.
“She’ll be travelling there, as we have said, from a position of strength, not unlike how Secretary Blinken met with Director Yang and other PRC officials in Anchorage on the way back from the Indo-Pacific region, where we had engaged in consultations with our Japanese and South Korean counterparts as well,” he added.
Sherman, Price said, intends for this engagement to show and to demonstrate to China what responsible and healthy competition can look like.
“We know this relationship is going to be competitive. We welcome that competition. We welcome that stiff competition. But we also want to make sure that the playing field is level, and importantly, that competition doesn’t veer into conflict,” he said.
“We want to make sure that this is a relationship that has guard rails there where there are clearly defined parameters to the relationship as well. And we believe, again, that engaging in practical, substantive, and a direct manner, as we expect this visit will be, will help us achieve those goals,” he said.