U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is bound for China this weekend, where he will work to shore up relations between Washington and Beijing.
Blinken’s visit was first postponed after the U.S. discovered and shot down a purported Chinese spy balloon in U.S. airspace.
The trip will make Blinken the most senior Biden administration official to visit China so far, and the first Secretary of State to do so since 2018.
Blinken is expected to leave Washington on Friday and begin the trip on Sunday.
“While in Beijing, Secretary Blinken will meet with senior PRC officials where he will discuss the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to responsibly manage the U.S.-PRC relationship,” the State Department said. “He will also raise bilateral issues of concern, global and regional matters, and potential cooperation on shared transnational challenges.”
The State Department said Blinken will also strive to communicate U.S. values, and encourage China to cooperate on global issues such as climate change. Major diplomatic breakthroughs are not expected.
The visit comes as tensions remain high over military activities in the Taiwan Strait.
China considers the self-governing island of Taiwan to be part of its territory, and frequently responds to activity in nearby international waters and airspace that it considers provocative.
In recent weeks, a Chinese vessel ahead of a U.S. destroyer and Canadian frigate as they crossed through the strait.
And in May, a Chinese fighter of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace.