US extends invitation to China’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Wang Yi

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The United States has invited China’s top diplomat Wang Yi to visit for high-level meetings as part of efforts to renew dialogue between Beijing and Washington, the State Department said Tuesday.

The invitation was extended during a meeting on Monday in Washington between senior American and Chinese officials, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

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The offer had originally been made to Qin Gang, Wang’s predecessor, who has since been mysteriously deposed after just seven months as foreign minister, following weeks of speculation that he had fallen out of favor.

Miller declined to say if Beijing had accepted the invitation, but added that it is “a trip that we expect to happen.”

He said no date had yet been scheduled. One possible opportunity could be on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in mid-September.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken already met Wang in Jakarta in mid-July, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) talks, as well as during his visit to Beijing in June.

Since then, a succession of American officials have visited Beijing, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo confirmed at the end of July that she planned to visit China by the end of this summer.

Tensions between Beijing and Washington have flared in recent years over self-ruled Taiwan, China’s disputed claims over a swath of the South China Sea and a tug-of-war for influence in the South Pacific, but the two nations are striving to maintain dialogue after months of frostiness.

Washington has also avoided formally pointing the finger at China over a recent cyberattack targeting US government entities, including the State Department.

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