Pompeo to meet with top Chinese official in Hawaii

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to meet with a top Chinese Communist Party official in Hawaii, the State Department announced Wednesday, marking a rare face-to-face meeting as relations between Washington and Beijing have sunk to one of their lowest points.

Pompeo, along with Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, will meet with Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member Yang Jiechi in Honolulu.

The State Department did not provide any details of the meeting, but the two sides are likely to cover a number of difficult topics that have strained relations between two of the world’s largest economies.

President Trump has blamed China for the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic and accused Beijing of influencing the World Health Organization, cited as one of the main reasons for the U.S. moving to terminate its relationship with the global health body last month.

Pompeo has condemned Beijing for moving forward on exercising security control over Hong Kong, rallied allies against Chinese infrastructure projects in their countries and criticized as “obscene propaganda” efforts by Chinese government officials to paint the U.S. as hypocritical in its handling of racial justice protests sweeping America.

Beijing has pushed back on these accusations, and has launched personal attacks against Pompeo through its foreign ministry spokespeople and state-run media, calling the secretary a “liar” and the “common enemy of mankind.” 

Yet the two sides have sought to preserve and build on a phase one trade deal signed in January, a rare spot of cooperation amid the heated rhetoric.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment on the meeting and a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson offered no details when asked by reporters.

Tags China Coronavirus Donald Trump Hawaii Mike Pompeo State Department U.S. Xi Jinping

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