The US Secretary of State arrived in Beijing early Sunday on a high-stakes diplomatic mission to try to cool exploding US, China tensions that have set many around the world on edge.

Iran PressAsia: Antony Blinken became the first secretary of state to visit China in five years on Sunday as he arrived in the country for two days of high-stakes meetings aimed at stabilizing a relationship under historic stress.

Officials from both governments have signaled low expectations for the visit, with a senior State Department official telling reporters earlier this week that he does not expect “a long list of deliverables.”

Instead, US officials are framing the trip as an effort to resume normal channels of communication with China in order to avoid conflict between two of the globe’s great powers.

Blinken’s primary goal in China is to reestablish channels of communication, especially direct military-to-military communication, between Washington and Beijing, according to a senior State Department official.

The Biden administration’s relationship with Beijing is one of its most complicated and consequential, and one that has seen months of strain, including two military-related incidents in recent weeks. 

Last month, the US President Biden predicted a thaw in China’s anger over the US downing of its high-altitude surveillance balloon in February. The White House has indicated that Blinken’s trip could unlock meetings between US and Chinese officials, including a leader-to-leader engagement with President Xi Jinping. 219