Beijing reportedly plans to seek reversal of many Trump administration policies targeting China at Thursday’s meeting in Alaska with senior U.S. officials.
The Wall Street Journal attributed the information to people with knowledge of China's plans. The talks will mark the first face-to-face meetings between senior officials of both nations since President Joe Biden was elected.
The meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and China’s top foreign policy officials comes as the two nations have key disagreements over trade and human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong, and the western Xinjiang region, as well as the pandemic and increasing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, The Associated Press noted.
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party ruling body, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi plan to urge Blinken and Sullivan to dismiss sanctions and restrictions on Chinese entities and individuals put in place by the Trump administration, the Journal said.
Chinese officials intend to suggest re-establishing regular high-level meetings between the two nations and scheduling a virtual summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Biden in April.
China is also looking to reverse restrictions on American sales to Chinese firms such as its telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co., and chip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. ; visa restrictions on members of the Communist Party, Chinese students, and state-media journalists; and the shutdown of the Chinese Consulate in Houston, the newspaper reported.
The Journal noted a senior Biden administration official attempted to downplay expectations the Alaska meeting would lead to any agreement.
The official said the meeting didn't signal "the resumption of a particular dialogue mechanism or the beginning of a dialogue process."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki summed up the talks this way: "The meeting is an opportunity to address a wide range of issues, including ones where we have deep disagreements. We’ll be frank in explaining how Beijing's actions and behavior challenge security, prosperity, and our concerns about challenges they pose to the security and values of the United States and our allies and partners
"We approach our relationship with the Chinese from a position of strength and in lockstep with our allies and partners," Psaki added.
Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry said the proposal for the meeting in Alaska originated from the U.S.
"The U.S. side proposed to hold this high-level strategic dialogue, which we think is meaningful," the ministry told The Wall Street Journal. "We hope that the two sides can have a candid dialogue on issues of mutual concern."
The symbolism of the meeting is important, said a senior Biden administration official, who noted how important it is to have the secretary of state and the national security adviser represent the U.S.
"It's pretty simple," Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee of his plans for the meeting. "This is an important opportunity for us to lay out in very frank terms our concerns."
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