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Blinken to meet with China counterparts in Alaska next week

World1 hour ago (Mar 10, 2021 02:05PM ET)

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(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Senate panel holds confirmation hearing for secretary of state nominee

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with top Chinese officials on March 18 during a stop in Alaska, the State Department said on Wednesday, marking the first high-level in-person contact between the two countries under the Biden administration.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan will join the meeting in Anchorage with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, and State Councillor Wang Yi. The meeting will follow Blinken’s first overseas trip to U.S. allies Japan and South Korea.

The two sides will discuss “a range of issues,” the department said in a statement without giving further details.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, held their first phone call as leaders last month and appeared at odds on most issues, even as Xi warned that confrontation would be a “disaster” for both nations.

Blinken told Yang in a phone call earlier in February that the United States would stand up for human rights and democratic values in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

Blinken also pressed China to condemn the military coup in Myanmar, and reaffirmed that Washington will work with allies to hold China accountable for efforts to threaten stability of Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait.

The meeting will come after the United States is due to hold its first ever leaders’ meeting of the Quad group of countries, which includes the United States, India, Japan and Australia, on Friday, as it looks to boost its diplomacy in Asia to counter China’s growing influence.

Blinken to meet with China counterparts in Alaska next week

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