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Senior US officials discuss N. Korea, Taiwan, South China Sea in talks with Beijing officials

By Yonhap

Published : April 16, 2024 - 09:28

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US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink speaks at a hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. (GettyImages) US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink speaks at a hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 08, 2021 in Washington, DC. (GettyImages)

Senior US officials discussed with Beijing officials a range of regional and global issues, including North Korea, the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea during their visit to China this week, the State Department said Monday.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior Director for China and Taiwan Affairs Sarah Beran met with Executive Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Yang Tao, director general of the North American and Oceanian Affairs Department at China's foreign ministry.

Their trip to China from Sunday to Tuesday comes as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open channels of communication and "responsibly" manage competition, according to the department.

"The two sides discussed a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including the Middle East, PRC support for Russia's defense industrial base, cross-Strait issues, the South China Sea, and the DPRK," the department said in a press release.

PRC and DPRK stand for the official names of China and North Korea, the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, respectively.

"The United States emphasized its commitment to advancing its interests and values and those of its allies and partners," it added.

Asked to comment on Kritenbrink's trip in Beijing, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller noted that North Korea is always on the agenda during senior-level diplomatic engagements between Washington and Beijing.

"Certainly, every time that we engage with our Chinese counterparts -- whether it is the secretary at his level or assistant secretary at his -- one of the things that is always on the agenda is stability on the Korean Peninsula and preventing North Korea from realizing its nuclear ambitions," Miller told a press briefing.

Kritenbrink and Beran also met Taiwan Affairs Office Deputy Director Qiu Kaiming to discuss cross-Strait issues.

"The assistant secretary and senior director underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and reiterated there has been no change to the US one China policy," the department said.

The Taiwan issue has been a source of tension between Washington and Beijing as China hopes for reunification with the self-governing island democracy with the US opposing any unilateral change to the status quo by either side.

The US officials' visit to China came after President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held phone talks early this month amid a US effort to "de-risk" the bilateral relationship despite a hardening rivalry on multiple fronts, including technology, security and trade. (Yonhap)