Blinken to Meet Xi, State Department Says

Leah Millis / Pool Photo via AP
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, walks to a meeting with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, not in photo, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday.

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at 4:30 p.m. Monday, the State Department said, as America’s top diplomat wrapped up a two-day visit to Beijing aimed at easing soaring tensions.

A Blinken-Xi meeting had been expected, but neither side had confirmed it would happen until just an hour before the talks, which are seen as key to the success of the trip. A snub by the Chinese leader would have been a major setback to the effort restore and maintain communications at senior levels.

Blinken is the highest-level U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office, and the first secretary of state to make the trip in five years. His visit is expected to usher in a new round of visits by senior U.S. and Chinese officials, possibly including a meeting between Xi and Biden in the coming months.

The encounter with Xi comes on the second and second and final day of Blinken’s critical meetings with senior Chinese officials. The two sides have thus far expressed willingness to talk but have showed little inclination to bend on hardened positions that have sent tensions soaring.

Blinken met earlier Monday with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi for about three hours, according to a U.S. official.

Neither Blinken nor Wang made any comment to reporters as they greeted each other and sat for their discussion.