By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 15 June: Amid heightened tensions between the US and China, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Beijing and London on his diplomatic trip starting Friday until 21 June, the State Department announced on Wednesday on their official website.
The State Department said that Secretary Blinken “will discuss the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the US-PRC relationship,” when he sits down with senior PRC officials.
This will be Blinken’s first visit to Beijing as a Secretary of State and he becomes the highest-ranking diplomat from the US President Biden’s administration to visit PRC, the Reuters reported.
“We’re not going to Beijing with the intent of having some sort of breakthrough or transformation in the way that we deal with one another,” Daniel Kritenbrink, the State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia has told reporters at a briefing.
Kritenbrink further added that the US is “coming to Beijing with a realistic, confident approach and a sincere desire to manage our competition in the most responsible way possible.”
According to the report, Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang had called Blinken on Wednesday urging the US in advance to stop meddling in its affairs and harm its security.
The seemingly ambiguous message is well known. What China fears is being pressed for its human rights violation of Tibetans in Tibet, Uyghurs in East Turkistan and Beijing’s explicit goal of incorporating Taiwan within the PRC.
Recently at the annual Freedom Award ceremony held on 10 May, Blinken publicly expressed his concerns over the extent of the mass collection of DNA from Tibetans by China. He declared that “as an additional form of control and surveillance over the Tibetan population.”
Tibetans and Tibet’s supporters are hoping that Blinken will raise the Tibet issue with his Chinese counterpart and press for the Sino-Tibet dialogue, which has stalled since 2010, to resume.
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said “I won’t speak to any potential meetings, other than to say we’ll have announcements about who he will be meeting with and when over the next few days.”
Whether the Secretary of State will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping or not is not confirmed yet.