Jun 18, 2020 07:20 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Meets Top Chinese Diplomat

What’s New: Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi had a “constructive dialogue” with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii Wednesday. Both sides agreed to take action to “implement in earnest the consensus” reached by their leaders and to “maintain contact and communication,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The two sides had “in-depth exchanges” on Sino-U.S. relations as well as “global and regional issues of mutual concern,” and “fully expounded their respective stances,” Xinhua said, without elaborating on details.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Pompeo stressed “important American interests and the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions.” The statement added that Pompeo also stressed “the need for full transparency and information sharing” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The background: The meeting came amid escalating U.S.-China tensions over a series of issues including the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart President Donald Trump had agreed to work together to combat Covid-19 during a phone call this March. According to a statement issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time Trump said the U.S. would “focus on working with China to fight the outbreak without interference.” However, since then relationships have deteriorated over the pandemic.

Yang and Pompeo,had exchanged views on the phone at least three times this year before their meeting, in April, March and January. The last time they held face-to-face talks was in New York last August. The two also met in 2018’s U.S.-China Diplomatic Security Dialogue in Washington, a high-level bilateral dialogue mechanism launched in 2017, co-chaired by the two sides’ top diplomats and defense officials. The dialogue was suspended last year.

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