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State Dept. sending 2nd-highest ranking official to China for 'candid' talks

By
Zarrin Ahmed
The U.S. and Chinese national flags are seen outside of a hotel in Beijing, China, on August 11, 2020. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
The U.S. and Chinese national flags are seen outside of a hotel in Beijing, China, on August 11, 2020. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 21 (UPI) -- Just days after condemning Chinese hackers for perpetrating cyberattacks worldwide, President Joe Biden's administration is sending its second-highest ranking diplomat to the Asian country, officials said Wednesday.

The State Department said Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit Tianjin, China, on Sunday to meet with Chinese government officials.

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The trip will make Sherman the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit China since Biden took office.

The summit will be the second between U.S. and Chinese officials in four months. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with counterparts in Alaska in March.

"These discussions are part of ongoing U.S. efforts to hold candid exchanges with [Chinese] officials to advance U.S. interests and values and to responsibly manage the relationship," the State Department said in a statement.

"The deputy secretary will discuss areas where we have serious concerns about [Chinese] actions, as well as areas where our interests align."

Earlier this week, the Justice Department indicted four Chinese citizens and said they were involved in a widespread cyberattack campaign that hit targets worldwide for much of the 2010s. The four worked for Beijing's state security ministry, U.S. official said.

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After leaving China on Monday, Sherman will travel to Oman to meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalifa Al Harthy to discuss peace and security, the department noted.

At the Alaska summit, Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi accused the United States of hypocrisy on the issue of cybercrimes and human rights abuses.

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