WASHINGTON — Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, plans to visit China early next year to follow up on the meeting between President Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in Bali, Indonesia, a State Department official in Washington said on Monday.
As his first trip as secretary-of-state, Mr. Blinken’s China trip would have the same broad goals as the Bali meeting: to keep communication open and to have open exchanges with senior officials about important issues to avoid conflict. Details of the trip will be discussed by American and Chinese officials in the coming weeks.
On Monday night, President Biden announced that Mr. Blinken would be traveling to Bali soon. Mr. Blinken sat to Mr. Biden’s right as the American delegation met in a hotel with Mr. Xi and Chinese officials. R. Nicholas Burns (the U.S. ambassador in China) was also present at the American side.
In China, Mr. Blinken met Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, several times. The two met in September at the United Nations General Assembly. The discussion was focused on Taiwan.
Mr. Blinken and Mr. Wang first met in their current roles in March 2021 in Anchorage, Alaska, where Mr. Wang and Yang Jiechi, China’s top Communist Party official for foreign policy, sharply criticized Mr. Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, on U.S. policy on China.
“We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” In that meeting, Mr. Yang shared his thoughts with Mr. Blinken & Mr. Sullivan.
In internal discussions, Mr. Blinken has been supportive of the Biden administration’s actions on China, including the sweeping export controls on semiconductor technology announced last month.
Mr. Blinken has rallied allies and partners to denounce China’s actions on Taiwan, including the military exercises and missile tests that Beijing carried out after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to the island in August. And Mr. Blinken has not changed the official State Department designation of the Chinese government’s actions against ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang as “genocide,” a designation that Mr. Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, made in January 2021, right before the end of the Trump administration.
At the same time, Mr. Blinken is a proponent of Mr. Biden’s goal of keeping open channels of communication with China in order to avoid a rapid deterioration of the relationship. The two countries are the world’s largest economies and have extensive trade ties.
U.S. officials said after the meeting in Bali that the two countries would resume diplomatic talks that Beijing had frozen after Ms. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. This includes discussions on climate change, global environmental policy, and other topics.
Analysts predict that Mr. Blinken will continue to push for tough policies towards China, even though he and his administration colleagues are continuing diplomacy.
“To use Theodore Roosevelt’s phrase, Biden’s approach to China can be described as ‘speak softly and carry a big stick,’” Yuen Yuen, a political scientist at The University of Michigan, said the following: “Unlike Trump, Biden does not send wild tweets or insult China, but he is determined to counter China’s rise, and he has been steadily doing so by rallying allies and cutting off China’s access to critical technology.”