China's newly appointed Foreign Minister Wang Yi attending a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Turkey, 26 July 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/STRINGER

US invites Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Washington

Washington, Aug 2 (EFE).- The United States has formally invited new Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Washington as the two countries try to ease their diplomatic tensions.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller confirmed Tuesday the invite for Wang, who took over as the Chinese foreign minister from Qin Gang on July 25 after he was removed suddenly from his post.

“We extended the invitation that had previously been made to former Foreign Minister Qin Gang and made clear that the invitation did transfer over to Minister (Wang) Yi,” Miller told reporters.

Wang was the Chinese foreign minister between 2013 and 2022

He resumed the post after Qin was away from the public scene for a month.

The Chinese authorities have given no reasons for his absence or sudden removal.

In 2022, Wang was promoted to head of the party’s foreign affairs commission, making him Qin’s boss before his removal.

Miller said Washington’s invitation to Wang came during a meeting in Washington on Monday between Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific Daniel Kritenbrink and Yang Tao, director of North America and Oceania affairs at the Chinese foreign ministry.

The State Department spokesperson did not say whether China had accepted the invitation.

“I will let the Chinese government speak to their side of it. We certainly expect that it is something that they would accept, and it is a trip that we expect to happen, but we have not yet scheduled a date.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week hoped to “work well” with Wang Yi, with whom he met in Jakarta in mid-July at an Asean meeting.

Blinken met Qin in Beijing in June on the first visit by a top US diplomat in five years, when Washington invited the then-Chinese minister for further bilateral discussions.

The two countries share frosty ties, with the Taiwan issue being among the main bones of contention.

China claims the self-governed island as part of its territory and does not rule out the possibility of using force to merge it with the mainland.

The US has said it would defend Taiwan’s sovereignty in case of a Chinese invasion.

Among the other issues causing tension between the two powers is China flexing military muscles in the South China Sea. EFE