US envoys to visit China in Asia tour in effort to repair ties
Will Sino-US relations transcend competition and the US' consideration of China as the "main challenge"?
The US government is sending its first high-level delegation to China, following a pledge to mend strained relations made by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden last month.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink will join National Security Council Senior Director for China and Taiwan Laura Rosenberger on the December 11-14 trip. The two will visit China, South Korea, and Japan.
Kritenbrink will follow up in China on Xi and Biden's commitment to "continue responsibly managing the competition between our two countries and to explore potential areas of cooperation" during their meeting in Bali last month, according to the State Department.
Additionally, Kritenbrink will get ready for Secretary of State Antony Blinken's first trip to China in four years, which is scheduled for early 2023.
The two leaders met in Bali to discuss contentious topics like Taiwan's future, US import restrictions on Chinese high-tech products, and China's efforts to increase its influence globally.
While Xi informed Biden that the two nations "share more, not less, common interests," Biden left their meeting with Xi proclaiming that a new Cold War is not necessary.
This comes after Jinping said on December 8 that the strengthening of Beijing's relations with the Gulf marked the beginning of a "new era" in the development of Sino-Arab relations.
Xi was seen landing with an honorary escort from Saudi fighter jets earlier that day in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and was met by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the purposes of signing strategic deals meant to reinforce bilateral relations between the two countries.
"The visit will carry forward our traditional friendship, and usher in a new era in China’s relations with the Arab world, with Arab states of the Gulf and with Saudi Arabia," said Xi in an opinion piece published in Saudi Arabia’s media, adding that the two sides "respect each other’s sovereignty and development path [and] respect each other’s history and cultural traditions."
Read next: China, Saudi Arabia sign 'comprehensive strategic partnership'
At his meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, Xi was reported saying, "China considers the development of relations with Saudi Arabia a priority of its diplomacy in the Middle East, is ready to move along the path of national revival with Saudi Arabia, strengthen strategic ties aimed at development, deepen practical cooperation in all spheres," as quoted by CCTV.
Xi was further quoted as saying that China considers Saudi Arabia a strategic power in the multipolar world and recognizes the importance of developing a strategic partnership with the Kingdom, as he met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh.
On his part, Mohammed bin Salman was quoted as saying, "Saudi Arabia firmly adheres to the one-China principle, supports China in defending its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, and supports China's deradicalization measures and efforts, firmly oppose outside interference in China's internal affairs under the pretext of protecting human rights," as cited by CCTV.