Acting on the belief that intense competition requires intense diplomacy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Beijing June 16 to meet with leaders of the Peoples Republic of China. In February, Secretary Blinken cancelled a scheduled trip to Beijing after the PRC sent a spy balloon over the United States.
In a telephone briefing to reporters, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink said, “There is no substitute for in-person meetings, and the United States…has deep experience in talking with and even working with our competitors when our interests call for it.”
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said visit to the PRC has three objectives:
“First, the Secretary wants to establish communication channels that are open and empowered to discuss important challenges, address misperceptions, and prevent miscalculations to manage competition between our two countries.
“Second, as he always does, he will stand up and speak out for our values and our interests. He will raise clearly and candidly our concerns on a range of issues, and he will also discuss a host of regional and global matters. Third, he’s committed to exploring potential cooperation on transnational challenges when it is in our interest in areas such as climate and global macroeconomic stability.”
Secretary Blinken is “clear-eyed” about the trip and the differences the United States has with the PRC on a wide range of issues, said Spokesperson Miller. He cautioned against the expectation of any breakthroughs concerning them during the visit.
But, he declared, it’s important, as two of the world’s great powers, that the United States and the PRC “make sure that as we’re watching each other and watching the steps that we take, that there’s no miscalculation on either side about the other’s intentions, that when we have issues, we can raise them directly with each other. So, misunderstanding doesn’t veer into dangerous miscalculation.”