Chinese foreign ministry welcomes visit by U.S. Secretary Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., U.S. December 14, 2022. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS/

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) - China welcomes a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the country, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said at a regular news briefing on Tuesday.

"China welcomes Secretary of State Blinken's visit to China. Both China and the United States are in communication now over the specific arrangements," Wang Wenbin said, responding to a question on a U.S. media report that Blinken is visiting China on Feb. 5.

"(China) also hopes the United States will adopt a correct view of China, uphold dialogue rather than confrontation, win-win rather than zero-sum (thinking)," Wang added.

A U.S. official told Reuters the State Department is eyeing Feb. 6 for Blinken’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing. Politico earlier reported that the visit would take place over Feb. 5-6.

Blinken's February visit to China would be the first by a secretary of state since October 2018 when Mike Pompeo, under the Trump administration, met then-foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing, with the two dignitaries exchanging pointed remarks amid an escalating trade war.

China's confirmation of the visit follows a November meeting between the American and Chinese heads of state Joe Biden and Xi Jinping during the G20 summit held on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The two leaders pledged more frequent communications at a time of simmering differences on Taiwan, human rights, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and economic issues.

Both leaders had agreed that Blinken would visit China to follow up on their discussions, according to the White House, although no specific date was mentioned then.

Last month, a delegation of senior U.S. officials held talks with China's Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng in Langfang, a city neighbouring Beijing, in order to discuss Blinken's visit, according to the U.S. State Department.

Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Tom Hogue and Deepa Babington

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