Meeting in Malta, U.S. and Chinese Officials Convene to Address Ukraine and Other Global Hotspots

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White House National Security Adviser Meets with China’s Top Diplomat

The White House announced on Sunday that its national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met over the weekend with China’s top diplomat in Malta. This meeting aims to maintain open channels of communication amidst rising tensions and ongoing political purges in Beijing.

According to the White House, Jake Sullivan and Wang Yi, the Communist Party’s top foreign policy official and China’s foreign minister, discussed various issues during their meeting. These include the relations between the two nations, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the tensions between Washington and Beijing regarding Taiwan, an important U.S. partner and a de facto independent democratic island.

During a telephone briefing, a senior White House official reiterated American concerns about recent Chinese military actions around Taiwan and other coercive activities. The official emphasized the importance of peacefully resolving any disputes or conflicts and urged China to refrain from aiding Russia in its war on Ukraine. U.S. intelligence agencies have expressed concerns about China potentially sending weaponry to support President Vladimir V. Putin’s war, although China has not yet done so.

Future High-Level Engagements and Recent Developments

The White House summary stated that Jake Sullivan and Wang Yi agreed to pursue additional high-level engagement and consultations in key areas. U.S. officials have been working on arranging a meeting between President Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of an international summit in San Francisco in November. However, recent political purges in the Chinese government and the Communist Party have cast doubt on the feasibility of this meeting.

The Chinese government and Communist Party have been experiencing internal turmoil, with several high-ranking officials facing investigations and being replaced. U.S. intelligence agencies are actively gathering insights into these conflicts as part of a broader espionage shadow war and intelligence collection campaign between the United States and China.

Since the spy balloon crisis earlier this year, President Biden and his top officials have been seeking to establish stability in U.S.-China relations. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, John Kerry (special climate envoy), and Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo have all engaged in high-level diplomacy with their Chinese counterparts.

Uncertainty Surrounding Potential Biden-Xi Meeting

While efforts are being made to arrange a potential fall meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping, the final agreement is uncertain. Chinese officials often delay confirming important diplomatic meetings until the last minute to exert leverage.

Internally, Xi Jinping is facing political challenges as China’s economy slows down, raising concerns about its future growth prospects. Criticisms from Chinese citizens within elite circles regarding Xi’s policies and promotion of party ideology have also emerged.

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