President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are likely to announce the reopening of embassies closed last year, reports Politico, which could be one of the biggest steps yet to repair broken ties during the Trump administration.
The two leaders, who are planning a special conference soon, may also announce a reduction in visa restrictions, media reported on Thursday, citing sources they did not identify. The US also wants to make progress on trade and climate issues, as well as to start a bilateral dialogue on nuclear weapons – something Beijing is opposed to.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded to questions about the Politico report by saying that “many incidents outraged by former US officials undermine China-US relations.”
“We hope the US will rectify its shortcomings and work on the same side with China to restore bilateral relations,” Wang added at a news conference on Friday in Beijing. Wang said he did not have any new information on the plans for the meeting between Xi and Biden.
Relations between the US and China have steadily improved in recent months as they pass through Taiwan and an alarm is mounting in Washington over Beijing nuclear weapons. The Pentagon warned Wednesday that China was expanding its nuclear arsenals faster than previously thought, a development that came after U.S. uniformed military chief of staff, General Mark Milley, said China’s testing of hypersonic systems was close to “Sputnik” time in the United States.
A group of four Democratic Alliance lawmakers wrote a letter to Biden urging him to take steps to reduce the nuclear threat to China as a priority for his meeting with Xi, which is unplanned. China, which refused to join US-Russia arms control talks last year, sees measures such as “dragging” China into “illegal arms talks” to unite China and justify US measures to strengthen its nuclear power, said the Global Times backed by the Communist Party. report on Friday.
However, US-China trade as a whole has escalated after relations collapsed in the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency, as he put pressure on Beijing after an epidemic struck during his re-election campaign.
In July 2020, Washington ordered China to close its embassy in Houston, prompting Beijing to retaliate by ordering the closure of a U.S. embassy in the southwest of Chengdu. Trump officials say the move was important because China has directed criminal and covert activities to steal trade secrets and engage in activities that have a negative impact on the rest of the US, although it has never provided evidence.
The two nations also traded visa bans for students and journalists during Trump’s tenure in office.