Senior diplomats of the US and China are due to meet on Sunday amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The US State Department said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the No. 2 US diplomat, will meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and others in Tianjin, China, as part of a trip to Asia, which includes stops in Japan, South Korea and . Mongolia and Oman as well.
“In terms of relations that are complex, that are challenging, that are dynamic, we believe it is important to maintain open lines of communication between high-level officials. And this includes in the case of the PRC (People’s) China Republic), continued competition,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a briefing on Wednesday.
Sherman’s meetings with Chinese officials come as the Biden administration accuses China of massive hacks of Microsoft Exchange email server software. On Monday, the US accused four Chinese nationals of trying to steal US trade secrets, technology and disease research. China denied the allegations.
Sherman’s visit, which is widely seen as a step towards future high-level meetings between the US and China, comes as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visits Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.
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Austin will be the first official from President Joe Biden’s cabinet to visit Southeast Asia. Sherman’s meeting with Wang in Tianjin will be the highest-level direct talks between the two countries’ top diplomats since their March meeting in Alaska.
US officials say Beijing’s aggressive activities in the South China Sea are at the top of the agenda. Washington denies China’s “illegal” maritime claims at sea, accusing China of “forcing and intimidating Southeast Asian coastal states” and threatening freedom of navigation in vital global waterways.
“I will emphasize our commitment to the freedom of the sea and make clear where we stand on some of China’s baseless and baseless claims in the South China Sea,” Austin said at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
“We don’t believe any one country should be able to dictate the rules, or worse, throw them at the transom,” the defense chief said.
ASEAN Policy and Myanmar
In early August, Brunei is hosting foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the US, who are mostly virtual gatherings to address issues including regional security.
Addressing a videoconference on US-ASEAN ties, senior US officials and US lawmakers gave a call for the Southeast Asian bloc to work on the restoration of democracy in Myanmar, curbing violence on its military leaders and bringing them all Pressurized to release those who were unjustly detained.
Henrietta Levin, director of the National Security Council for Southeast Asia and ASEAN Affairs, said Washington is calling on ASEAN members to “quickly hold the Burmese military accountable to ASEAN’s five-point consensus”.
Levine was referring A statement from ASEAN leaders released in late April It urged an end to the violence as well as the establishment of political dialogue and the naming of a regional special envoy on Myanmar.
US Representative Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican who is also co-chair of the US-Philippine Friendship Caucus in the US Congress, said it would “promote ties” with the Southeast Asian bloc’s US allies through “economic engagement”. is an effective approach. Address the challenges posed by China and “its bid for regional and global hegemony”.
US Representative Young Kim, a Republican from California, urged American businesses and companies to “hold principles” when operating in Myanmar as people in the country seek to restore the rule of law and democracy.
“I am shocked by the ongoing violence and abuse in that country”, Kim said.
ASEAN is collectively the third largest economy in the Indo-Pacific and the fifth largest in the world. The US exports more than $122 billion of American-made goods to ASEAN annually.