The Biden administration will send White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan to a private meeting with China’s top foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi in Switzerland this week, the White House announced on Oct. 5. 

The surprise meeting was announced amid heightened tensions between the two governments following a series of disagreements that include, among others, the issue of Taiwan and foreign trade.

The meeting will take place in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the stops on Sullivan’s trip to Europe that will also take him to Brussels and Paris for meetings with world leaders. The official White House announcement did not specify which day the meetings would take place.

The meeting with Yang Jiechi will “follow up on President Biden’s Sept. 9 call with President Xi [Jinping] as we continue to seek to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China,” the statement said.

According to official statements, several issues were addressed during the conversation between Biden and Xi, including the fact that both nations are responsible for “ensuring that competition does not escalate into conflict.”

In a brief statement, the White House released at the time that the two leaders, in their approximately 90-minute phone conversation, had “a broad and strategic discussion,” which included “areas where our interests converge and areas where our interests, values and perspectives diverge.”

This week the Biden administration voiced some criticism of the Chinese Communist regime after its military apparatus recently stepped up its coercion against the autonomous island.

Over the past few days, the Chinese regime sent 149 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, raising regional tensions to a new level. Australia and Japan have expressed concern over China’s aggression, as have several Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

On Oct. 6, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told the island’s parliament that the relationship between Taipei and Beijing is currently at its worst in 40 years. He also warned that the regime is capable of launching a “full-scale” invasion against Taiwan by 2025.

In parallel, during a regular press briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying condemned U.S. comments on the regime’s incursions into Taiwan, saying China will “resolutely crush all attempts at Taiwan independence.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to recognize the island’s government as autonomous and has increasingly sought to isolate the pro-independence administration of President Tsai Ing-wen.

The United States has historically supported Taiwan in the dispute with the CCP, although the current government has not explicitly pledged to defend Taiwan from an actual military attack. 

So far, there is no further information regarding the surprise meeting between Sullivan and Yang, but the international community and world journalism are awaiting the outcome of the meeting.

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