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CIA Director,Chinese Leaders Met in May06/03 08:04

   

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- CIA Director William Burns went to Beijing in May to meet 
with Chinese counterparts, a U.S. official said Friday, in what is the highest 
level visit by a Biden administration official since a suspected Chinese spy 
balloon was shot down by American forces.

   Burns' visit, first reported by The Financial Times, comes as Washington 
tries to cool tensions with Beijing over the balloon and other recent conflicts 
between the world's two largest economies and geopolitical rivals.

   U.S. officials have long warned that China rejects their efforts at 
outreach. That raises the possibility of miscommunication spiraling into 
conflict, they say.

   "Last month, Director Burns traveled to Beijing where he met with Chinese 
counterparts and emphasized the importance of maintaining open lines of 
communication in intelligence channels," said a U.S. official who spoke on 
condition of anonymity to discuss Burns' schedule, which is classified.

   Burns only met with intelligence officials and not any of Beijing's 
political or foreign policy leadership, according to a second person familiar 
with the visit who also spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the trip.

   President Joe Biden has often sent Burns on sensitive trips to meet U.S. 
adversaries. Burns went to Moscow in late 2021 to confront Russian President 
Vladimir Putin about indications that Russia was gearing up to launch a new 
invasion of Ukraine.

   The U.S. is still trying to reschedule Secretary of State Antony Blinken's 
trip to China after it was canceled as the Chinese balloon was flying over 
American territory.

   Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also spoke "briefly" on Friday with Li 
Shangfu, China's minister of national defense, at the opening dinner of a 
security forum in Singapore. China had earlier rejected Austin's request for a 
meeting on the sidelines of the forum.

   Also on Friday, a top Treasury official, Undersecretary for International 
Affairs Jay Shambaugh, met with Xie Feng, China's ambassador in Washington. 
According to the Treasury Department, Shambaugh spoke to Xie about the 
importance of "closely communicating on global macroeconomic and financial 
issues."

 
 
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