Blinken braves bilateral deep-freeze in Beijing
Staff, 2023-02-02 07:30:00,
Hi, China Watchers. This week we look ahead to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Feb. 5-6 Beijing trip, unpack the sudden surge in warnings about a looming U.S. conflict with China and mark the anniversary of the death of China’s now-revered Covid whistleblower, Li Wenliang. We’ll also probe the whereabouts of vanished Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai and profile a book that argues that the once-popular narrative of China’s peaceful evolution toward freedom and democracy was nothing less than a deception by foreign politicians and pundits.
Let’s get to it. — Phelim
Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN will travel to Beijing this weekend to test whether the Chinese government’s recent shift to a softer diplomatic tone could translate into actual concessions on issues including counternarcotics cooperation and the release of unjustly jailed Americans in China.
Blinken’s much-anticipated Feb. 5-6 China trip is a follow-up to President JOE BIDEN’s meeting with Chinese paramount leader XI JINPING in Bali in November. Biden pledged then to “maintain open lines of communication” with Beijing despite worsening bilateral tensions.
Suspicions about China’s rapidly modernizing military prompted a senior U.S. Air Force officer…
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