US Secretary of State Antony Blinken intends to travel to China as soon as the conditions allow, his spokesperson said Monday.
Blinken was scheduled to travel to China early this year. This was cancelled days before his visit after the US detected a Chinese spy balloon in its skies.
"He intends to go, and he intends to go as soon as conditions allow and we're able to get that trip back on the books," State Department's Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at his daily news conference. Earlier in the day, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns met Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing.
"We maintain important lines of communications with a number of officials across the PRC (People's Republic of China). Obviously, that will relate to the respective individual and who their appropriate counterpart was. As you know, when Secretary Blinken was secretary and obviously when Foreign Minister Qin Gang was ambassador to the United States, they had a number of opportunities to engage as well," he said.
"The important thing here is that we would like there to continue to be open lines of communication between our two countries," Patel said.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference that Blinken will reschedule his visit to China when conditions allow.
"When we believe the time is right. We anticipate that there are a number of engagement that US officials have in due course -- we've talked about secretary of Treasury, the secretary of Commerce also visiting China at some point when we believe the time is right," she said.
"And we have always called for reliable channels of communication between the United States and the PRC," she said.
Patel told reporters at the State Department that maintaining open lines of communication with China has been a key tenet of the United States' approach as it relates to this very complicated bilateral relationship.
"You have seen even the secretary speak about the importance of that, even after his trip was postponed, you saw him talk about the importance of these open lines of communication remaining open and being used as a way to discuss things that are critical and important to the bilateral relationship," he said.
"And just as the secretary does when he speaks to his counterparts, the ambassador spoke in his meeting about the areas where our two countries can cooperate, such as addressing the challenge of the climate crisis, such as addressing cooperation when it comes to global health and public health, as well as important opportunities on food security and other things," Patel said.
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