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US national security adviser will meet Chinese foreign minister as the rivals seek better ties

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Bangkok, Thailand, officials from both countries said

Via AP news wire
Friday 26 January 2024 07:02 GMT

Senior U.S. and Chinese representatives are expected to meet in Bangkok, Thailand as the two countries seek to cool tensions.

Officials from both sides said U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi would meet.

The exact schedule for their talks was not announced, but both are scheduled to be in the Thai capital from Friday, where they’re meeting separately with Thai officials.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said their planned meeting “continues the commitment by both sides at the November 2023 Woodside Summit between President Biden and President Xi to maintain strategic communication and responsibly manage the relationship.”

That summit meeting was seen as an effort to patch up frayed relations due to quarrels over a range of economic and geopolitical issues.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed that Wang Yi plans to meet with Sullivan.

An immediate issue of concern to both countries is tensions in the Red Sea that have upended global trade by forcing many shippers to avoid the Suez Canal.

China has been in “close communication with all parties concerned and making positive efforts to de-escalate” the conflict, during which Iran-backed Houthi rebels have attacked international ships with missiles, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Wednesday.

Washington has reportedly sought to have Beijing use its influence with Iran to address the attacks.

The meeting comes days after another senior Chinese diplomat traveled to North Korea.

Sullivan and Wang are separately holding bilateral talks with Thai officials, according to the U.S. and Chinese statements. Washington is contending with Beijing for influence with longtime U.S. ally Thailand, as Beijing has been flexing its diplomatic and economic muscle globally in recent years.

Sullivan, whose visit is scheduled to end Saturday, paid a courtesy call Friday on Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and later held a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, the Thai foreign ministry said.

“During the discussions, both sides reiterated commitment to the long-standing treaty alliance between the two countries based on shared values of democracy, human rights, and human security,” said a Thai statement.

It said the talks also covered “ways to to further enhance partnership both at the bilateral and regional levels across diverse fields.” and discussion of regional and international crises in Myanmar, Ukraine and the Middle East.

The Thai foreign ministry announced that Wang Yi will meet with his counterpart on Saturday to sign an agreement exempting Thai nationals from requiring visas to visit China, and on Monday will meet with the prime minister.

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