William Burns, CIA director, secretly visited China in late August to try and restore relations between Beijing and the Biden administration after the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon which traversed America earlier this year.
Burns met his Chinese counterparts in order to stress “the importance to maintain open lines of communications in intelligence channels”, according to Financial Times which reported the first visit.
Since the ballon accident, the Biden administration has had little to no dialogue with Beijing.
Secretary Of State Antony Blinken cancelled a previously scheduled trip where he had been expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. A phone call that was supposed to take place between Xi Jinping and Biden has yet to happen.
China announced on Monday that it has declined the offer to have U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meet Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu. The pair did shake their hands at the Shangri-La Dialogue opening dinner in Singapore on Friday.
Officials said that the pair exchanged brief but meaningful words.
Jake Sullivan, White House National security adviser and Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo met with their Chinese counterparts earlier this month. The Pentagon confirmed that the meeting between defense leaders and the White House was not held.
The diplomatic relations between Washington, DC and Beijing rapidly deteriorated after the US military shot down an American spy balloon that was detected in American airspace in February. China condemned the shooting down.
There are balloons from all over the world. “Do you want to take down every single one of them?” asked Wang Yi, a Chinese diplomat at the time. It does not demonstrate that America is powerful, but rather the opposite.
Beijing also took offense after the U.S. warned China about arming Russia in order to aid its war against Ukraine.
U.S. intelligence concluded Chinese officials were contemplating providing lethal assistance to Moscow.