US invites China's top diplomat Wang Yi to Washington

US invites China's top diplomat Wang Yi to Washington

No date yet scheduled as invitation extended during meeting between US, China officials in Washington

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - The US has invited China's newly-appointed Foreign Minister Wang Yi for an official visit to Washington.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Tuesday that Washington extended the invitation during a meeting of American and Chinese officials in the capital.

However, no dates have been scheduled yet, Miller said, according to details from a news briefing.

Daniel Kritenbrink, US assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs, on Tuesday met in Washington with Yang Tao, director general of the North American and Oceania affairs at China’s Foreign Ministry.

High-level exchanges between Washington and Beijing have picked up in recent weeks as the two countries make an apparent move on stabilizing bilateral relations.

"We extended the invitation that had previously been made to Foreign Minister Qin Gang and made clear that invitation did transfer over," Miller said.

Qin was removed as China's top diplomat last month after weeks of unusual disappearance from public view, raising questions on his whereabouts​​​​​​​.

Beijing has said he was unavailable due to "health reasons" but has pushed back on what it called "malicious hype" of Qin's removal.

Qin had been appointed foreign minister last December, succeeding Wang, who was appointed as director of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee Foreign Affairs Commission Office, a position he continues to hold.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and climate envoy John Kerry were three high-level US officials to visit Beijing in the past two months.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is expected to travel to Beijing later this month.

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