The Korea Herald


Blinken to discuss N. Korea, Taiwan, Middle East during China visit next week: official

By Yonhap

Published : April 21, 2024 - 09:31

    • Link copied

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Beijing American Center at the US Embassy, in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023. (Reuters-Yonhap) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a press conference in Beijing American Center at the US Embassy, in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023. (Reuters-Yonhap)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China next week to discuss an array of issues, including North Korea's "threatening" rhetoric and "reckless" actions, a senior US official has said.

Blinken plans to visit Shanghai and Beijing from Wednesday to Friday for talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other senior officials in an endeavor, which the official said builds on America's push to "responsibly" manage the Sino-US relationship through closer communication to reduce the "risk of miscalculation and conflict."

The secretary will touch on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including North Korea's threats, instability in the Middle East, China's industrial overcapacity and risks associated with artificial intelligence.

"Of course, the secretary will discuss challenges in the Indo-Pacific, including PRC provocations in the South China Sea as well as the DPRK's threatening rhetoric and reckless actions," the State Department official said in a virtual briefing previewing Blinken's planned trip.

PRC and DPRK stand for the official names of China and North Korea, the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea has been an agenda item for high-level meetings between the United States and China, as Washington has been calling on China to exert its influence to rein in Pyongyang's provocative acts and persuade it to return to dialogue.

Blinken's trip comes amid growing concerns over the North's military threats as Pyongyang has been doubling down on its weapons tests, including its recent launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile tipped with a hypersonic warhead.

Adding to the concerns is the North's deepening military cooperation with Russia that has spawned speculation that Pyongyang might have received or will receive military technology assistance in return for its transfers of weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.

During his stay in China, Blinken will "stand up and speak out" for US values and interests, the official said.

"The secretary will raise clearly and candidly our concerns on issues ranging from human rights, unfair economic and trade practices to the global economic consequences of PRC industrial overcapacity," the official said.

Blinken will also reiterate Washington's "deep concerns" over China's support for Russia's industrial base and reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, according to the official.

He also plans to reiterate the US' intention to responsibly manage Sino-US competition.

"We believe that intense competition requires intense diplomacy on a range of issues," the official said. "In-depth, face-to-face diplomacy is particularly important to managing tensions endemic to strategic competition between two major powers."

Relations between Washington and Beijing have seen progress since President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a summit in California in November.

During the summit, the leaders agreed to curb illicit fentanyl production and restore bilateral military-to-military communication. Military communications between the two sides were suspended after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August 2022. (Yonhap)