CIA head secretly visited China despite concerns 2023

William Burns, CIA Director, stressed the significance of open communication between China and the US.

A US official claimed CIA director William Burns visited China last month to boost relations with Beijing.

According to the Financial Times, Burns visited Beijing in May to calm tensions and reestablish dialogue amid concerns that misunderstanding between the two great powers may lead to war.

The visit to China follows US President Joe Biden’s efforts to reestablish contact and plan talks with top officials in Washington and Beijing.

On Friday, a US official told Reuters that Director Burns visited Beijing last month and stressed the significance of open intelligence channels.

According to a second anonymous source, Burns only spoke with Chinese intelligence officers, not political or international figures.

The CIA did not comment on Burns’ China visit

Beijing’s expanding military action in the South China Sea and strong connections with Russia have strained relations with Washington.

Washington accused China of considering military help to Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. China refused them.

The Biden administration’s opponents claim decades of engagement have failed to improve China’s approach to trade, security, and human rights.

After a Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down above US airspace and critical military locations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponed a February trip to China.

The Pentagon claimed there was no “substantive exchange” when US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin shook hands with Chinese National Defense Minister Li Changfu on Friday during a security forum in Singapore.

China had denied Austin and Lee, who is under US sanctions, a formal meeting at the Shangri-La Security Summit in the coming days.

In 2018, Washington sanctioned the Equipment Development Department (EED) of the Chinese Ministry of Defense and its director Li for buying Russian missiles and combat aircraft.

The sanctions prevented the European Endowment for Democracy and Lee from using the US banking system and prohibited US visas.

At the meeting on Saturday, Austin called US-China engagement “essential” to avoid miscalculations that may lead to war.

Austin stated during the conference that the US-PRC dialogue is open.

“The more we talk, the more we can avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations that could lead to crisis or conflict,” he stated.

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On Friday, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US wants to talk with China “without preconditions” on nuclear weapons limitation, but Beijing is still hesitant.

In a lecture at the Arms Control Association, Sullivan said, “Simply put, we have not yet seen a PRC willingness to decouple strategic stability from broader issues in the relationship.” This has been a cornerstone of nuclear and strategic security for decades.

“That is why we are also willing to engage China without preconditions, which helps manage competition and prevent conflict,” he added.

“We’ll see what the People’s Republic of China chooses,” he continued.

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