Speculation is building that Chinese President Xi Jinping could accept an invitation from US President Joe Biden to meet next month in San Francisco. China's top diplomat is visiting Washington this week for talks.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Maine began a rare visit to Washington on Thursday, voicing hope of putting an end to recent turbulence between the world's two largest economies.
Wang Yi urges dialogue for return to 'healthy' relations with US
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began by meeting Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US State Department.
Standing next to Blinken, Wang said the two countries share important common interests and challenges that they need to resolve together.
"Therefore, China and the United States need to have dialogue. Not only should we resume dialogue, the dialogue should be in-depth and comprehensive," Wang said, speaking through an interpreter.
Dialogue would expand cooperation and return relations to the "track of healthy, stable and sustainable development," Wang said, speaking through an interpreter.
Blinken responded: "I agree with what the foreign minister said."
There are more formal talks and a dinner scheduled Thursday between Wang and Blinken. On Friday, Wang will speak with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House.
Although no meeting has been announced with Biden, an ecounter between the two is widely expected after Xi received Blinken in Beijing in June.
What is the US hoping for?
The US hopes Wang's visit to Washington will smooth the way for Xi to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next month in San Francisco. It would be Biden and Xi's first meeting since the G20 in Indonesia in November 2022.
There also is hope that common ground can be found on the conflicts in Israel and Ukraine, despite US disappointment in China's support of Russia and Xi's silence on the rapidly unfolding situation in Israel.
Blinken met Xi in Beijing in June after Blinken's scheduled trip to the Chinese capital in February was canceled following the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon over US territory.
That affair marked a nadir in recent relations between the world's two biggest economies but, having also met Blinken in Malta in September, Wang will speak at the White House with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a sign that relations are thawing slightly
What do the US and China disagree on?
There are clear tensions between the two, particularly over Taiwan. The Biden administration has stepped up military support for Taiwan, which China claims is party of its territory and has not ruled out taking by force.
Washington has also tightened export curbs on chips to China, and issued sanctions targeting Chinese individuals over support for Iran's drone program and over production of chemicals that make fentanyl, the painkiller behind an addiction epidemic in the US.
Biden, who labeled Xi a 'dictator' earlier this year, has also championed alliances in the face of China's rise. He has forged a new three-way military alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom, known as AUKUS, and promoted the "Quad" with Australia, India and Japan.
The two countries are also at odds over human rights, climate change, North Korea and the South China Sea, with Biden warning China over missiles fired by Chinese vessels at Manila's boats in disputed waters — although China rejects this account.