The U.S. and China Take Another Stab at Thawing Relations

The U.S. and China Take Another Stab at Thawing Relations
U.S. President Joe Biden stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 14, 2022 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

BEIJING—The U.S. and China are talking again. To be clear, they never completely stopped communicating. But last week they returned to engaging in the first high-level, publicly known, face-to-face discussions since the spy balloon fiasco ended in February.

China’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi, sat down with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Vienna late last week, in a meeting that was only disclosed by the White House after it had taken place. Over the course of two days, the two talked for more than eight hours. Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, met with Chinese Trade Minister Wang Wentao just days after a sit-down with Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

Both sides described the Wang-Sullivan meeting as “substantive” and “constructive.” All was not so rosy from the Chinese side, though: State media outlet Global Times warned though that it will take more than “only words” to get the relationship back on track. The nationalist tabloid characteristically blamed the U.S. for the deterioration in ties, taking Washington to task for “repeatedly disappointing and angering the Chinese society which originally bore goodwill and fondness toward the U.S.”

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