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Blinken Presses China’s Top Diplomat on Ukraine but Stresses Cooperation

“The relationship between the United States and China is highly consequential for our countries, but also for the world,” Mr. Blinken said.

After several months of being consumed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden administration officials have been focusing anew on China, which they call the top long-term strategic threat to the United States.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, met last month in Europe with Yang Jiechi, another senior Chinese diplomat; and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III saw his Chinese counterpart a few days later in Singapore. This month, Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary, held a videoconference with a Chinese vice premier, Liu He. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, spoke by phone last week with his counterpart, Li Zuocheng.

Danny Russel, a former senior State Department official who is a vice president at the Asia Society, a policy institute, said the big question now was whether President Biden and Mr. Xi would have their first in-person meeting, most likely on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit scheduled for November in Indonesia.

“Both sides seem to think that leveraging the personal relationship between Biden and Xi would go a long way to stabilizing the relationship at a time of turbulence for both the U.S. and China,” Mr. Russel said. “There are no guarantees that these efforts will succeed, and neither side is likely to be public about their plans, but it certainly feels as if there is a convergence around the idea of a face-to-face meeting.”

Linda Jakobson, deputy chair and founding director of China Matters, an independent think tank in Australia, said that both the United States and China had reasons to improve their relationship. One of those, she said, was the global economy, which not only threatens Mr. Biden’s Democratic Party in the midterm elections in November, but also Mr. Xi’s bid for a third term as president at the Chinese Communist Party’s congress this fall.

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