“I will meet on March 18 with People’s Republic of China Director Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Alaska to engage on a range of issues, including those where we have deep disagreements,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Twitter.
Joining Blinken in Alaska will be national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The meeting will take place on Thursday and Friday of next week.
The Wall Street Journal says the Chinese have sought to restart a relationship with the U.S. in the post-Donald Trump era.
“Beijing has lobbied the Biden administration for early face-to-face discussions to try to smooth out relations that have grown sharply more confrontational in recent years,” the newspaper wrote.
Alaska was chosen because Blinken is set to return to Washington, D.C. from a trip to Asia, specifically Japan and South Korea, and Anchorage is a refueling stopover.
Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalisation think-tank in Beijing, told the Financial Times that the meeting “would be ‘the first step on a thousand mile journey’ as China tries to convince the US to shelve disputes over human rights in favour of areas of potential co-operation, such as climate change.”
Admiral Philip Davidson, who heads the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the US is losing its military edge, while China continues to erode decades of American-led deterrence in Asia with a rapid military expansion.
“We are accumulating risk that may embolden China to unilaterally change the status quo before our forces may be able to deliver an effective response,” he said, as reported by Financial Times.