U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will spend the next two days in China for talks with senior officials.
The visit is set against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions between the United States and China.
The Secretary was set to make this trip in February but postponed it when a Chinese surveillance balloon was discovered over U.S. airspace. The balloon was ultimately shot down.
Blinken is the most senior U.S. official to visit China during President Joe Biden’s tenure in the White House and the first Secretary of State to go in five years.
President Biden himself also said he may meet again with Chinese President Xi Jinping, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I’m hoping that, over the next several months, I’ll be meeting with Xi again and talking about legitimate differences we have but also how there’s areas we can get along," said President Biden.
Blinken's trip this week is being met with scrutiny from some top Congressional Republicans who are accusing the Biden administration of not taking a more hardline approach with China.
As the New York Times reported, GOP Congressman Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, "threatened to subpoena Mr. Blinken if he failed to produce documents by Friday evening detailing the list of retaliatory actions the U.S. government has considered against China and when they were applied."
Democrats, on the other hand, argue that communication is important to cool tensions.
Blinken is expected to prioritize open communication channels between the two nations while engaging in discussions regarding climate change and the global economy.
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