Top US-China exchanges since Biden took office

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Top US-China exchanges since Biden took office © Reuters. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, July 9, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

(Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday she believes China and the U.S. have made some progress and can have a healthy relationship, following 10 hours of bilateral meetings with senior Chinese officials in Beijing.

Yellen’s trip was the latest in efforts to stabilize tense relations and prevent conflict between the world’s two largest economies. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is expected to travel to China later this month for talks on global warming.

Below is a list of some of the other high level U.S.-China exchanges since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.

BIDEN-XI PHONE CALL – February 10, 2021

Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held their first phone call as leaders and appeared at odds on issues ranging from trade to human rights, even as Xi warned that confrontation would be a “disaster” for both nations.

FIRST HIGH-LEVEL MEETING – March 18, 2021

The first U.S. and China high-level face-to-face meeting under Biden’s administration was in Anchorage, Alaska. It got off to a fiery start with both sides rebuking each others’ policies in a rare public display that underscored the tensions.

The talks were led on the U.S. side by Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and on the Chinese side by senior diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi.

FIRST TRADE TALKS – May 26, 2021

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and China’s then Vice Premier Liu He held talks virtually, the first such high level trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies since Biden took office.

SENIOR U.S. DIPLOMAT VISITS CHINA – July 26, 2021

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held talks with State Councillor Wang Yi, in Tianjin, China. She remains the top U.S. official to visit China since Biden became president.

BIDEN AND XI HOLD VIDEO MEETING – November 15, 2021

Biden and Xi spoke via video link for the first time in talks lasting more than three hours which covered a wide range of topics including Taiwan, North Korea and trade.

SULLIVAN-YANG TALKS IN ROME – March 14, 2021

Weeks after China’s close ally Russia invaded Ukraine, Sullivan held a seven-hour meeting with Yang to warn Beijing not to aid Moscow’s war effort.

DEFENCE CHIEFS HOLD FIRST TALKS – April 20, 2022

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a call with China’s then defence minister Wei Fenghe, the first talks between the two officials since Biden took office.

BLINKEN AND WANG HOLD TALKS IN NEW YORK – September 23, 2022

Taiwan was the focus of the 90-minute, “direct and honest” talks between Blinken and Wang on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, a U.S official told reporters.

The talks came just over a month after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, the democratic island China claims as its own, triggering a furious reaction from Beijing.

BIDEN AND XI MEET IN BALI – November 14, 2022

Biden and Xi held their long-awaited first face-to-face leadership talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. During the three-and-a-half hours of talks the pair covered topics including Taiwan and nuclear-armed North Korea.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS GREETS XI IN BANGKOK – November 19, 2022

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met briefly with Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC summit in Thailand.

BLINKEN AND WANG HOLD TENSE MUNICH TALKS – February 19, 2023

The top diplomats of the two superpowers, Blinken and Wang, met at an undisclosed location on the sidelines of a global security conference in Munich, amid an ongoing dispute over the U.S. downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon.

U.S., CHINA COMMERCE OFFICIALS TRADE BARBS IN WASHINGTON – May 25, 2023

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao traded barbs on trade, investment and export policies in face-to-face talks in Washington D.C. described by Raimondo’s office as “candid and substantive.”

U.S., CHINA DEFENCE CHIEFS SHAKE HANDS AT SHANGRI-LA DIALOGUE – June 2, 2023

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin shook hands with China’s Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu on the sidelines of a security summit in Singapore but the two did not have a “substantive exchange,” according to the Pentagon. The handshake came after China previously rejected a proposal from the U.S. for Austin and Li to hold formal talks at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

BLINKEN MEETS PRESIDENT XI IN BEIJING – June 18-19

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a rare meeting with President Xi Jinping, who welcomed “progress”, with both stressing the importance of avoiding conflict, on the first visit by Washington’s top diplomat to China in five years.

However, China refused to entertain Washington’s bid to resume military-to-military communication channels.

Blinken’s trip was postponed from February after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over U.S. airspace.

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