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The backstory: The US and China haven’t been on the best terms for a while now. Things started getting really rocky about a year ago, when then-Speaker of the House in the US, Nancy Pelosi, made a visit to Taiwan, which China had warned against. Although the US doesn’t have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it does have friendly ties with the island and supports its right to defend itself. But, China considers Taiwan part of its own territory. On top of that, the US put restrictions on semiconductor trade with China, heating up tech competition between the two.
More recently: Last November, US President Biden and China’s President Xi met in person to talk about strengthening ties and working together to solve international issues like climate change. The finance ministers of both countries, Janet Yellen and Liu He, also met to speak this past January. Things were starting to look like they might get friendlier between the two nations.
But, in February, the US found two alleged “spy” balloons from China hovering over its territory, which prompted the country to postpone Secretary of State Antony Blinken's scheduled visit to Beijing. The US said these balloons were doing surveillance, while China said they were weather balloons that had accidentally flown off course. But, the US ended up shooting one of them down, and China called that move an “overreaction.” Since then, it seems like relations have stalled, and we’ve been waiting to see where things will go from here.
The development: Last Wednesday, Biden said that plans are in the works for him to speak with Xi, but it’s not clear exactly when that will happen. At the end of the G7 summit this weekend in Japan, he assured that relations would improve soon between the US and China. On Sunday, he said the world would see tensions between them start to “thaw very shortly.” Biden also said that the US is considering lifting sanctions on Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, who US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin might meet while he’s in Singapore in June.
"In terms of talking with them, I think you're going to see that thaw very shortly," US President Biden said on Sunday.
“I don’t think there’s anything inevitable about the notion that there’s going to be this conflict,” Biden also said. “We all agree we're going to maintain the One China policy.”
"The United States has engaged in unilateral sanctions, 'supply chain decoupling', and weaponization of economic and trade issues," the Chinese embassy in Britain said regarding G7 conversations on Chinese “economic coercion,” adding, "It is the real coercion."