National security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with top Chinese diplomat and member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Yang Jiechi amid rising tensions over China’s aggression toward Taiwan, the White House announced Tuesday.
Sullivan will meet with Jiechi, a former Chinese ambassador to the U.S., in Zurich, Switzerland, this week in the first of a series of international meetings. Sullivan will also meet with NATO and EU leaders to debrief his conversation with Jiechi, according to National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne.
The White House described the meeting only as seeking to “responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.” The meeting will be only the second in-person meeting between the Biden administration and Chinese officials, however. It also coincides with a spike in Chinese aggression toward Taiwan, a longtime U.S. ally.
China gloated to Taiwan in early September that it cannot count on U.S. support if China were to invade, citing Biden’s then-ongoing haphazard withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The Chinese military deployed 52 warplanes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) Monday, an unprecedented number since Taiwan began reporting such information in 2020. (RELATED: Taiwan ‘On Alert’ After Record Number Of Chinese Planes Enter Airspace, Warns Of ‘Catastrophic’ Consequences If It’s Democracy Falls)
The aircrafts included 34 J-16, two Su-30 fighter jets, 12 nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, two Y-8 anti-submarine warplanes and two KJ-500 airborne control planes belonging to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, according to a statement from Taiwan’s defense ministry.
52 PLA aircraft (J-16*34, SU-30*2 Y-8 ASW*2, KJ-500 AEW&C*2 and H-6*12) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on October 4, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/2mC6UszTMB pic.twitter.com/WOtdFvJx8o
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) October 4, 2021
The White House did not immediately respond to inquiries as to whether Sullivan plans to discuss the Taiwan situation in his meeting with Yang.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki reaffirmed U.S. support for Taiwan on China, however.
“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” she told reporters during Monday’s press briefing. “We have been clear privately and publicly about our concern about [China’s] pressure and coercion toward Taiwan, and we will continue to watch the situation very closely.”
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan. And we have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. That’s why we’ll continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability,” she added.