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China’s Diplomatic Chess: Wang Yi’s Strategic Talks with U.S. and Russia Amidst Global Uncertainty

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In a complex diplomatic maneuver, China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, embarks on a four-day visit to Russia following an unexpected stopover in Malta for weekend discussions with White House officials. This move underscores Beijing’s meticulous groundwork for separate meetings between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his U.S. and Russian counterparts, President Biden and President Putin, respectively.

Notably, President Putin’s upcoming visit to China in October, his first trip abroad since an International Criminal Court arrest warrant in March, has generated significant anticipation. Meanwhile, speculation is rife that Xi and Biden could convene at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco the following month.

Wang Yi’s Malta talks followed a secret meeting with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Vienna in May, catalyzing the resurgence of high-level contacts between the U.S. and China throughout the summer. These meetings covered a spectrum of issues, including Ukraine and global security, and signaled the parties’ commitment to expanding high-level engagement in the coming months.

As tensions simmer and challenges mount in China’s domestic and international arenas, these diplomatic exchanges provide a unique window into Beijing’s strategy. While the global community observes the evolving dynamics, experts acknowledge that deciphering China’s intentions has become increasingly challenging, likening it to navigating a complex, enigmatic “black box.”