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Blinken to Hold Rare Talks with China FM on Bali trip: US

FILE - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press statement on the sidelines of the conference on global food crisis on June 24, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold a rare meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of a regional conference in Bali this week, the State Department said Tuesday.

Wang and Blinken, who last met in October, will meet on the sidelines of a Group of 20 ministerial meeting on the Indonesian resort island, the State Department said, amid high tensions on a range of issues including Taiwan.

The meeting comes as US President Joe Biden voices hope for a new conversation in the coming weeks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has not traveled internationally since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The State Department said that Blinken will also hold talks with his Indonesian counterpart, among others, and then travel Saturday to US ally Thailand for a visit that was canceled last year after an outbreak of Covid in the top US diplomat's delegation.

Meetings between the United States and China, once routine, had nearly ended during the pandemic and as tensions soared between the world's two largest economies.

Blinken and Biden's national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, met in March 2021 in Alaska with their counterparts in a meeting that turned confrontational, with the Chinese officials publicly upbraiding the United States.

But since last month, talks have appeared to become more commonplace, with Sullivan meeting senior Chinese foreign policy official Yang Jiechi in Luxembourg last month and the two nations' defense chiefs speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Singapore.

Biden spoke by telephone with Xi in March for talks that focused heavily on Ukraine, with the United States condemning Beijing's support for Russia but seeing little sign of material support for the invasion.

Blinken's last talks with Wang took place in October in Rome.

The meetings come amid growing US concern about Taiwan, which Biden has vowed to defend if China invades the self-governing democracy that it views as its territory.