China’s Leadership Rejig Prioritizes Relations With The United States

China’s most recent leadership changes indicate a greater emphasis on relations with the United States.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been appointed to the new Politburo, China’s second-highest level of power, according to state media. Despite speculation that he might retire, he has remained active.

The changes demonstrated that Yang Jiechi, a long-time diplomat involved in US-China relations, did not remain in the Politburo. Yang has led the party’s central committee’s foreign affairs office and is widely expected to step down.

The list of new central committee members released Saturday also included Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the United States.

Qin has actively reached out to American society and businesses, while Wang’s remarks during a recent visit to New York “indicates a desire to withdraw from the extremely competitive relationship with the United States,” according to Dali Yang, a political science professor at The University of Chicago.

“I think there may be a chance to certainly ease the tensions, hopefully, given the challenges China faces in keeping the Chinese economy growing,” Yang said.

He noted that the 1970s, during the Cultural Revolution, were also difficult years for China’s economy, but it was during this period that Chinese leader Mao Zedong made a decision to reach out to the United States.

The global pandemic that began in early 2020 has limited international travel, and China’s strict Covid controls have made meeting diplomats difficult.

Since Biden’s election, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden have yet to meet in person. The two men had previously met while Biden was serving in other capacities in the government.

Biden has stated that if Xi attends the G-20 summit in November, he will meet with him.

When asked last week, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to confirm Xi’s attendance, but stated that an update would be provided as soon as possible.

Qi Yu, the party secretary of China’s foreign ministry, was also named to the central committee on Saturday, according to state media.

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Tensions between the United States and China rose during the Trump administration, which used tariffs and sanctions to put pressure on China in response to allegations of unfair business practices.

Following that, the Biden administration declared that the United States is in competition with China and imposed a slew of new restrictions, including a near-ban on U.S. companies selling advanced chip technology to Chinese firms earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has strengthened ties with allies, particularly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. China, which had earlier that month hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin, has refused to call the attack an invasion.

However, there are some indications that China’s relationship with Russia is cooling.

Le Yucheng, a vice foreign minister who stated in December 2021 that China’s friendship with Russia has “no limit,” was fired in June. Instead, he was appointed deputy director of the National Radio and Television Administration with no explanation.

(Adapted from


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