TEHRAN (Iran News) – Top diplomats from China and the US are set to meet in Hawaii, a source said, as the two sides seek to ease soaring tensions that have pushed their relationship to its lowest point in decades.
The Chinese side is expected to be led by Yang Jiechi, a state councilor and member of the Communist Party Politburo, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head the US team, the person said on condition of anonymity, the South China Morning Post reported.
The exact details and date of the meeting had yet to be decided, the source said.
Political media firm POLITICO reported on Saturday that Pompeo was planning a trip to Hawaii to meet Chinese government officials, though the arrangements had yet to be finalized.
The report, which cited two unnamed sources, did not specify which officials Pompeo would meet.
Should the meeting go ahead it would be the first involving top officials from the two sides since their relationship was hit by fresh pressures over the Covid-19 pandemic, Hong Kong, the protests linked to the killing of George Floyd, and their mutual military activity in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.
The last high-level face-to-face meeting was on January 15 in Washington when Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and US President Donald Trump signed a phase one trade deal, although Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump have spoken twice over the telephone, on February 7 and March 27.
China-US tensions have been rising steadily in recent weeks. In early June, Trump threatened to revoke Hong Kong’s special status after China’s National People’s Congress endorsed a resolution to enact a national security law in the city, a move critics said would curtail its autonomy.
Beijing hit back by accusing Washington of meddling in its internal affairs.
The Trump administration has also lambasted Beijing for allowing the coronavirus to become a pandemic, which has so far killed more than 425,000 people around the world, though Beijing has accused Washington of trying to pass the buck to hide its own failings in dealing with Covid-19 in the US.
China’s state media has directly attacked Pompeo, describing him as the worst US secretary of state ever, while he has hit back by accusing Beijing of politicizing the Black Lives Matter protests.
Observers from both sides have appealed for calm from Beijing and Washington, with Chinese analysts saying the efforts of “Wolf Warrior” diplomats to defend Beijing had backfired and more effort was needed to avoid a total breakdown in China-US relations.
China is facing a hostile international environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many nations criticizing Beijing’s initial handling of the health crisis and trying to cover it up.
In his annual press conference last month, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing and Washington should find ways to work together, and that decoupling would only do harm to both sides.
- source : Tasnim, Irannews