US expects calls, engagements with China in coming weeks

Ned Price, U.S. State Department spokesperson

© APA | Ned Price, U.S. State Department spokesperson

# 03 March 2023 01:19 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not meet China's foreign minister on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in India as the two sides had already had extended talks in Munich last month, the U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Thursday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Speaking at a regular briefing, Ned Price said he expected there would be "additional calls and engagements" with China in the coming weeks.

"But we had just taken advantage of one opportunity a couple weeks ago," he said, when asked why there was no meeting at the gathering of G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi.

Last month, President Joe Biden said he expected to speak with China's President Xi Jinping about an incident in which the United States shot down what it said was a Chinese spy balloon, worsening already strained relations. No time has been given for the conversation.

Blinken met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19 and warned of consequences should China provide material support to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Blinken said Washington was concerned Beijing was considering supplying weapons to Moscow.

U.S. officials believe China will be preoccupied in coming weeks after its rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), begins its annual session on Sunday. The session is expected to unveil the biggest government reshuffle in a decade as Beijing confronts a host of issues at home and abroad.

Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met on Thursday on the sidelines of a G20, their first face-to-face meeting since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

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