China’s Chief Diplomat Opting Out of UN Assembly

China plans to send Vice President Han Zheng to the United Nations annual meeting of government leaders later this month rather than its top foreign policy official, raising questions about Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s November participation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in San Francisco.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had been expected to attend the meeting and then travel to Washington, D.C., for discussions regarding Xi’s trip to California, reports The Wall Street Journal

Diplomats from the U.S. and China have been working for some time on Xi’s visit, and as recently as late July Chinese officials were indicating that Wang would be the official at the General Assembly.

But with Wang staying away from the UN event, there are questions about when or if he’s coming to the United States to finalize plans for Xi’s attendance at the Asia-Pacific summit. 

Xi, when in the United States, is expected to meet with President Joe Biden, a summit that both sides say could boost efforts to stabilize ties between the nations. 

Beijing sources say Wang could still make a separate trip to the United States, as he has accepted, in principle, an invitation from the Biden administration, so the two sides are working to schedule a time for the visit. 

Xi, meanwhile, skipped this weekend’s G-20 summit in India. Beijing has not said why he stayed away, but India and China are involved in a border dispute. Further, the United States and its allies were to spotlight the Ukraine war with Russia, a key Chinese ally. 

Several senior Biden administration officials have visited Beijing this summer, with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo being the latest to make the trip after both sides agreed to hold regular discussions. 

Despite the meetings, neither side has conceded on policies that have created conflicts, including with the Biden administration refusing to back down on restrictions on semiconductor exports. 

Beijing is also refusing to resume contact between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, as the Biden administration is seeking, and has also tightened restrictions on the use of some U.S. technology, including banning government officials from using iPhones or other foreign-branded technology devices while working. 

China’s Ministry of State Security posted on social media earlier this month that Xi may not make the San Francisco trip if Washington D.C. doesn’t show “sufficient sincerity.”

That move, Chinese observers in the United States say, is a sign that China’s leaders are trying to push concessions from Washington including technology restrictions against China. 

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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