Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to China this weekend on a visit that comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing soar on multiple fronts, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Sherman will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and others in the northeastern city of Tianjin on Sunday as part of her current trip to Asia, which also is taking her to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia, the officials told reporters.
Sherman will be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office, though Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Wang and veteran Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Anchorage, Alaska, in March for what proved to be a contentious first exchange. John Kerry, the Biden administration’s special climate envoy, traveled to Shanghai for meetings with his Chinese counterpart in April, but Sherman now outranks him.
Sherman’s visit to China follows a significant deterioration in already badly strained U.S.-China ties in just the past two weeks, and there had been questions about why the trip was not announced at the same time as the rest of her travel to the region.