Top Biden aide speaks with Chinese counterpart as tensions flare

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White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on Friday, people familiar with the matter said, with relations between the world’s two largest economies severely strained.

Sullivan’s previously unreported call took place days before Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was scheduled to pass through the US en route to an official visit to Central America. In a sign of the fraught state of US-China ties, neither side opted to publicize the call between Sullivan and Wang.


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Spokespeople for the White House and the Chinese embassy didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The people who confirmed the call asked not to be identified discussing private conversations.

The official contact comes after Bloomberg reported that a call between President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping won’t happen as soon as US officials had hoped.

In recent years, relations between the two countries have deteriorated as the US and China have clashed over everything from trade to technology and the South China Sea.

Tsai’s stop in the US is the latest irritant. She’s expected to visit New York on March 29 and 30 and then stop in Los Angeles a week later. Such stopovers are normally routine but will draw new scrutiny given the strained state of US-China ties.

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