June 3 () –
The US Under Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Daniel J. Kritenbrink, will begin a tour of China and New Zealand this Sunday in an exceptional visit to Beijing by a US diplomatic official amid rising tensions between the two countries. During the last months.
According to a statement from the State Department, Kritenbrink will carry out this tour between June 4 and 10, accompanied by the director of the National Security Council for China and Taiwan Affairs, Sarah Beran, with the aim of discussing “key issues” in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Beran’s presence is indicative of the State Department’s willingness to address one of its main points of friction with China, the status of Taiwan, a Washington ally over which Beijing has claimed sovereignty for decades.
The efforts to normalize relations between the United States and China, always tense due to the commercial frictions and international alliances that separate both countries, ended up first derailing in August of last year, with the visit to Taiwan of the then president of the lower house of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, and in February of this year with the demolition by the US Army of an alleged Chinese spy balloon — weather probe, according to Beijing –.
The balloon incident occurred just as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was finalizing details of an official visit to China and led to a complete standstill in diplomatic relations. However, in recent hours there has been a bilateral rapprochement with the brief meeting between the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, and his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, at the opening dinner of the Shangri Dialogue security conference -The, in Singapore.
The Pentagon spokesman, General Pat Ryder, has reported this Friday that both leaders spoke “briefly” and greeted each other, although there was no “substantive exchange” of impressions. “The Department believes in maintaining open lines of military-to-military communication with China,” he said. However, the subsequent statements by both defense officials once again highlighted the differences that separate the two countries on the Taiwan issue.
Under Secretary of State Kritenbrink is also scheduled to visit New Zealand to address the New Zealand Institute Conference on International Affairs and participate in a bilateral strategic dialogue forum.