Blinken Engages in Three-Day Talks With China in Beijing, Shanghai

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to China last week for three days of talks, starting with meetings with Shanghai officials and business leaders on Thursday.

The secretary of state arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday where he started his visit by attending a playoff game between the Shanghai Sharks basketball team and the visiting Zhejiang Golden Bulls. The Sharks went on to lose by one point.

On Thursday, Blinken met with CCP Secretary of Shanghai Chen Jining.

Blinken was also expected to speak with Shanghai business leaders and students before heading to Beijing for talks with senior Chinese officials, including his counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Blinken arrived in Shanghai not long before President Biden signed the supplemental foreign aid package that includes more than $8 billion for the US’s Indo-Pacific allies to counter China’s growing aggression in the region, particularly in the Taiwan Strait and the disputed South China Seas.

The measure also includes a provision requiring the Chinese-based ByteDance to divest from TikTok within a year to prevent the app from being banned in the US.

The secretary of state will likely face pushback over both provisions as Beijing has condemned the US support for Taiwan and vehemently opposes Washington’s effort to force the sale of TikTok.

While meeting with Chen Jining in Shanghai, Blinken emphasized the importance of “direct engagement” between the US and China, explaining that being able to lay out their differences would allow the two countries to “work through them.”

According to the State Department, in addition to his talks with Wang Yi, Secretary of State Blinken would also meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping while in Beijing.

During the three-day visit, Blinken was expected to discuss “a range” of issues, including regional issues involving the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, as well as global issues like the war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East.