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Sullivan, top Chinese official meet to move ‘beyond’ spy balloon incident 

Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with top Chinese official Wang Yi in Vienna this week to move beyond the Chinese spy balloon incident and reestablish communication.

The meetings between Sullivan and Yi, which took place Wednesday and Thursday, were the highest level of engagement with China since the surveillance balloon traversed the United States in February.

“I think both sides recognize that unfortunate incident led to the bit of pause in engagement. We’re speaking now beyond that and reestablishing some standard channels of communications,” a senior administration official said about the meeting.

When asked whether that means the incident is over for the Biden administration and there won’t be any consequences, the official said, “We’ve been clear where we stand in terms of the breach of sovereignty.”

The official added, though, the meeting was part of an effort to find a way to keep working productively with China.

“But again, trying to look forward from here on, make clear we don’t want to see this happen again. But how do we manage the other issues that are ongoing, right now?” the official asked. “And manage the tension and the relationships that exists. And try to find, hopefully, a few issues where there are some overlapping interests and potentially find a productive way to work together.”

Yi is a Chinese Communist Party Politburo member and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission.

Sullivan in the meeting also raised concerns about detained U.S. citizens and counter-narcotics from China and Taiwan. He stressed that the U.S. is committed to the “One China” policy and that the administration wants competition, not conflict, with China.

The official said the meeting wasn’t “particularly difficult to set up,” despite the tense Washington-Beijing relationship.

“Oftentimes, it’s easier to meet in a third country than either of our two countries,” the official added. “This came together fairly quickly.”

The White House earlier on Thursday called the meeting between Sullivan and Yi “candid, substantive, and constructive.”

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