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June 14, 2023


MR PATEL:  Good morning, everybody, and thanks so much for joining us.  This call will be on the record and embargoed until the call’s conclusion.  This call will be to preview some upcoming travel for Secretary Blinken.  This morning, we announced that the Secretary will travel to Beijing on June 16th.  And at the conclusion of his visit to the People’s Republic of China, he will continue on to London to attend the Ukraine Recovery Conference.

And we’ll have more to share about that specific stop in the days ahead, but to discuss the visit to Beijing, joining us today are Dr. Kurt Campbell, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific; and Ambassador Dan Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

We’ll, of course, have some time for questions at the end, but let me first turn it over to Dr. Campbell.

MR CAMPBELL:  Thanks very much, everyone, and welcome.  I hope this is clear.  We’re on an airplane.  We’ve just left Delhi with Jake Sullivan, where we concluded very successful discussions with Indian friends in anticipation of the State visit next week, and we’re on our way to trilateral meetings in Japan.  The purpose of this call is really to talk, though, about China.

At the start of this administration, the PRC was convinced that the United States was in terminal decline.

Around the world there were doubts about our staying power, our economic vitality, our commitment to our allies, and the health of our democracy.

And on China, we also inherited an approach that acknowledged the challenge that it posed but had not fully developed the tools to deal with it.

Much of that has changed over the last two years since President Biden came to office.

At the start of the administration, we surveyed the strategic landscape and assessed the challenge.  Then we took a series of purposeful, strategic, integrated steps – both at home and abroad.

We were clear about what we planned to do, and we are doing it.

From the beginning, our approach has been consistent.  We are in competition with China, but we do not seek conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War.  We are for managing the competition responsibly.

We have strengthened America’s ability to outcompete China by rebuilding the economy from the bottom up and middle out, by enhancing our ability to innovate, rejuvenating our industrial capacity, protecting our technology, and – critically – by deepening our relationships with allies and partners around the world.

Our approach has had a number of specific components.

First, we recognize the importance of a bipartisan approach, and we’ve sought to build bridges across the aisle on this challenge – many calls, lots of interactions, and deep dialogue with partners across the aisle.

Second, we’ve made historic investments to bolster manufacturing – including related to foundational technologies – to create good-paying jobs at home, and to support more resilient supply chains.

There are a couple of examples of that.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act have already catalyzed billions in private sector investment, and they are moving the needle.

Large-scale investments in semiconductor and clean-energy production are up 20-fold since 2019.  We’re estimating $3.5 trillion in public and private investment over the next decade.  And construction spending on manufacturing has doubled.

Third, we’ve deepened our alliances and partnerships abroad in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Again, a few examples.  We launched the first-ever Quad leader summit involving the United States, Australia, India, and Japan – and we just held the fifth summit last month.

We inaugurated a new defense partnership, unprecedented – AUKUS – the first time in almost 70 years we’ve taken steps to provide an ally a nuclear-powered submarine capability.

We have strengthened our relationship with Southeast Asia, including through the President’s summits with ASEAN leaders, including the first-ever summit held in the United States.

We have also expanded our engagement with the Pacific with the President’s Pacific Summit last September, and we’ve invited Pacific leaders back to Washington later this year.

We’ve launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with more than a dozen partners representing more than 40 percent of the global GDP.

We’ve deepened the U.S.-Japan alliance in ways hard to imagine.  Japan is doubling its defense budget, providing access for exercises and training in its southwest islands, and acquiring key defense capabilities like Tomahawk missiles.  Japan has made a commitment to take its defense spending to 2 percent.

We’ve deepened ties to the Philippines, our oldest ally in Asia.  We’ve identified four new sites under our Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and expanded cooperation on issues from – on investment, clean energy, technology, and education.

We have strengthened our alliance with the ROK, including through greater cooperation on technology, and signed the Washington Declaration to strengthen American extended deterrence.

We’ve deepened our trilateral partnership with the ROK and Japan.  And as we speak, we’re on the road to Japan to hold another session to strengthen that partnership further.

We’ve launched the U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies to elevate and expand our partnership with India in the technologies of the future.

And with Europe, we’ve made major strides.  We’re seeing significant convergence between the United States, Europe, and key Indo-Pacific partners on our approach to China.

We launched the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, the TTC, a partnership that is delivering for workers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic, and taking on issues ranging from technology standards and export controls to non-market policies and economic coercion.

Early on, the United States and Europe suspended a 17-year long dispute between Boeing and Airbus and aligned our efforts to ensure a playing field and to push – a level playing field and to push back on China’s market distorting practices in the aircraft sector.

And the G7 came together around a simple formula codified just last month in Hiroshima: we are for de-risking, not for decoupling.

We’ve also taken steps to draw together allies and partners around the world to push back against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Through that effort, we’ve built new bridges between our alliances in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific.

Fourth, we’ve aligned with countries around the world to set the rules of the road for the twenty-first century.  We’re working together to:

Protect sensitive technologies so they can’t be used against us and moving to reduce unwanted dependencies.

To ensure we have diversified, resilient, and secure supply chains in areas like critical minerals.

We’ve set high standard alternatives for development financing, infrastructure, and trade.

And we’ve moved to provide public goods related to the climate, environment, pandemic preparedness, and macroeconomic stability, among many other areas.

And fifth, we’ve pursued an approach to the PRC that is competitive without veering into confrontation or conflict.

We’re clear-eyed about the PRC.  We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed.  And we expect China to be around and to be a major player on the world stage for the rest of our lifetimes.

As the competition continues, the PRC will take provocative steps – from the Taiwan Strait to Cuba – and we will push back.

But intense competition requires intense diplomacy if we’re going to manage tensions.  That is the only way to clear up misperceptions, to signal, to communicate, and to work together where and when our interests align.

After investing at home and strengthening ties with allies abroad, now is precisely the time for intense diplomacy.

This is not a strategic shift or something new to American statecraft.  We have decades of experience talking to and even working with competitors when our interests call for it.

We are not going to take a step back from our interests and values or from securing an enduring competitive advantage.

In just the last few months, we’ve taken actions against the PRC entities involved in human rights abuses, forced labor, nonproliferation, and supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

We’re continuing – we’ve continued to uphold freedom of navigation in the region by flying, sailing, and operating wherever international law allows.  And we’ll continue to take additional steps in the period ahead in economics, technology, security, and other arenas to advance our interests and values.

At the same time, there is nothing inconsistent with competing vigorously and talking with the PRC on a range of issues.

We have an interest in setting up crisis communication mechanisms to reduce conflict risk.  The world expects us to work together on climate, health security, global macroeconomic stability, and other challenges.  We can’t let the disagreements that might divide us stand in the way of moving forward on the global priorities that require us all to work together.

So we will seek to manage the competition and work together where our interests align from a position of confidence in ourselves and in the importance of consistent, clear, and high-level communication with other great powers.

Secretary Blinken’s trip will advance this approach, and we expect a series of visits in both directions in the period ahead.

Let me conclude by noting that there has been – noting that there has been a lot of speculation on what end state that we seek.  But this competition is not going to resolve in a decisive, transformative state.

What we seek instead is a positive steady state, one where our interests and those of our allies and partners are protected.

Thank you.

MR PATEL:  Thank you so much, Dr. Campbell.  Let me now turn it over to Ambassador Kritenbrink.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Thank you, Vedant, and thank you very much, Kurt.  Good morning or good evening, everyone.  Thanks for joining us today.

Building on Kurt’s comments, I’d like to say just a few words specifically about Secretary Blinken’s upcoming trip to Beijing.

This will be the first time that the Secretary has been to the PRC in his current role.  This will be the first Secretary of State visit to China since 2018 and the first U.S. Cabinet visit since 2019.  There is no substitute for in-person meetings, and, as Kurt said, the United States has deep experience talking with and even working with our competitors when our interests call for it.  And as Kurt noted, intense competition requires intense diplomacy if we are going to manage tensions.

The Secretary’s trip builds on other recent engagements since President Biden’s meeting with President Xi in Bali, where they committed to keep channels open to, at a minimum, prevent miscalculation.  As you know, the Secretary met in Munich in March with State Counselor – well, then-State Counselor Wang Yi.  And National Security Advisor Sullivan also recently met with now-Director Wang Yi in Vienna.  We also had Commerce Secretary Raimondo and USTR Katherine Tai’s recent meetings with the PRC Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao in Washington last month.

During this two-day visit, from June 18-19, the Secretary will have a series of meetings with senior PRC officials in Beijing.  We do not at this time have more detailed information on the Secretary’s schedule, but we will provide updates as they become available.

Secretary Blinken has three general goals for his trip.

First, he wants to establish communication channels that are open and empowered – to discuss important challenges, address misperceptions, and prevent miscalculation – so as to manage competition that does not veer – excuse me – into conflict.

Second, as he always does, the Secretary will stand up and speak out for U.S. values and interests.  He will raise clearly and candidly our concerns on a range of issues, and he will also discuss a host of regional and global security matters.

Third, the Secretary is committed to exploring potential cooperation on transnational challenges when it is in our interest – in areas such as climate and global macroeconomic stability.  We also hope to discuss ways to increase exchanges between the American and Chinese peoples.

Our primary focus, again, is to have candid, direct, and constructive discussions on all three of these fronts.

I think it’s also important to note that diplomats on both sides have invested many hours preparing for these meetings, separately and in early rounds of face-to-face talks.  That process is an essential component of our diplomatic communications, and we hope that these communications will facilitate substantive dialogue in the days ahead.  Both on this trip and in the days that follow, we expect those discussions to continue – again, so that we can manage responsibly the competition between our two countries, because that’s what the world expects of us.

With that, let me stop there and we’ll be happy to take your questions.

MR PATEL:  Thanks so much, Ambassador.  Operator, could you please repeat instructions on how reporters may enter the question queue?

OPERATOR:  Thank you.  Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question, please press 1 and then 0 on your telephone keypad.  You may withdraw your question at any time by repeating the 1, 0 command.  If you are using a speakerphone, please pick up the handset before pressing the numbers.  Once again, if you do have a question, press 1 and then 0 at this time.

MR PATEL:  Thanks so much.  Let’s first go to the line of Andrea Mitchell of NBC.

QUESTION:  Thank you all so very much for doing this.  Dr. Campbell, I wanted to ask you a few things.  First of all, about the recent comments from an official in China that President Xi does not see U.S. eagerness as serious, sees it – the engagement as an illusion – clearly negative comments in the last 24 hours.  Secondly, whether you believe, know that there is a chance, a better chance, of engagement because of China’s faltering economic recovery, the fact that they had to reduce interest rates in the last two days and that the recovery from the pandemic is not going as they needed it to go.

And then thirdly, about Cuba and the rest of Latin America and the regional – what China has, from my experience, frankly been doing for quite some time, not just recently – but the fact that we now see them trying to expand on their intelligence gathering from the island, as well as from other places in the region, which could be more specific about the timeline – because although we were told officially that this had proceeded and started in 2019, from my experience, it started well before that – and whether there is in fact a current plan and a current new agreement involving quite a bit of money that is badly needed by Havana to expand that and formalize that relationship, the intelligence gathering. Thank you so very much.

MR CAMPBELL:  Thank you.  I’m gonna let Dan take – since he is in the process of the immediate diplomacy, I’m gonna let him take the first question, and then I’ll try to, Andrea, help you with the second and third.  Dan, please go ahead.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Thanks, Kurt.  And thanks very much, Andrea.  Look, I think the only thing I could productively say on your first question is that in preparation for Secretary Blinken’s trip, we’ve had a number of substantive, productive, and candid exchanges with a number of Chinese counterparts.  And in the course of those discussions, both sides have indicated a shared interest in making sure that we have communication channels open and that we do everything possible to reduce the risk of miscalculation.  Chinese counterparts have used the words “to stop the downward spiral in the relationship,” and we have often noted – again, I’ll reiterate our interest in reducing the risk of miscalculation.

So I think we are focused on those discussions and what we’ve heard from our counterparts.  I believe that’s why we’ve reached agreement to have Secretary Blinken’s visit.

Kurt, over to you.

MR CAMPBELL:  Thank you, Andrea.  I think we’ve heard from unofficial interlocutors just a few months ago that China was giving up on diplomacy with the United States, but of course, we’ve seen other signals of late that suggest that they recognize that diplomacy with Washington is still important.

I’m not going to speculate on the reasons why they’ve come to that conclusion.  There could be economic concerns.  It could be that they too see some of the risks associated with accident and inadvertence.  It could also be that they see the effectiveness of our engagement with allies and partners and don’t want to be further isolated, or there could be concerns around our technology steps, or it could be a combination of reasons.  The simple fact is that we believe that both sides have an interest in maintaining consistent, clear, and open lines of communication, and we seek to do just that.

On your third question, Andrea, I would simply say that part of the assessment when we first came to power in the Biden administration is a deeper view of Chinese global activities to increase intelligence-gathering operations, military facilities, listening posts, other capacities associated with their space program.  And those activities were global in nature in every continent across many, many countries.

And we have contested those efforts globally in many places, including in Latin America.  I’m not going to get into all the specifics, but I would simply say that I think our analysts believe that in many places, we have impeded, slowed, and even stopped Chinese ambitions, and we will continue that as we go forward.

MR PATEL:  Thanks so much.  Let’s next go to the line of Margaret Brennan with CBS.

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you so much for doing this.  Just a quick follow-up on that last question.  Kurt, when you referenced concern about technology, I’m assuming that’s a reference to AI.  I wonder how much that will be part of the conversation in Beijing.  And I wanted to specifically ask about the three wrongfully detained Americans.  I assume they will be a topic.  Is there any hope of bringing them home?

MR CAMPBELL:  I’m going to let Dan take that last question first and then I’ll talk a little bit about technology.


ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Great.  Thanks, Kurt.  And Margaret, thanks for your question.  Look, I’ll just underscore there is no higher priority for the U.S. Government than protecting U.S. citizens overseas.  Obviously, the Biden-Harris administration raises wrongful detentions and exit bans with the PRC government at every opportunity and at the highest levels.  I’m confident that we will do so on this trip.  And I would also note that during my recent trip together with National Security Council Senior Director Beran, we also raised the importance of bringing home U.S. citizens who are wrongfully detained or subject to exit bans in China.

Kurt, over to you.

MR CAMPBELL:  Yeah.  Thank you, Margaret.  We do believe that China has concerns about elements of our technology policy with regard to semiconductors, a number of high-end technology uses, some of our activities with allies and partners.  And we believe that those issues will be raised directly with Secretary Blinken, and we will defend and explain our activities to date and what to expect in the future.

The specific question that you ask, however, is that we believe that there is concern both in China and the United States – indeed, we heard it in India – about establishing parameters for the next steps in the evolution in AI.  I think it’s too early to say whether we’ll have (inaudible) a deeper discussion about AI, but I think you’ve seen certainly in the United States a growing scientific discussion and debate about the risks associated with AI.  If we are to be effective in engaging in a discussion about how that development of AI proceeds into the future, it will require international discussions, and one of those dialogues would involve China.

MR PATEL:  Let’s next go to the line of John Hudson with The Washington Post.

OPERATOR:  One moment.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  It seems like the prospects for progress are low given neither side is willing to bend on a lot of core issues.  How important is the optics of good relations?  And is that a strong consideration in underlining the entire trip in general?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  John, maybe I could take an initial stab at that, and  then ask ‑-

MR CAMPBELL:  Yeah, why —

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  — Kurt to comment to comment.  Kurt, is that okay with you?  I’ll take an initial —

MR CAMPBELL:  Absolutely, Dan.  Please.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  I’ll take an initial stab.

Look, John, I think what I would say is that, as I outline, we have three key objectives:  we want to make sure that we keep our senior-level communication channels open to reduce the risk of miscalculation, we want to have an opportunity to signal our interests and our views – stand up and speak out for our values and interests – and thirdly, we do want to explore areas of potential cooperation where it’s in our interest to do so.

But John, I think you’re right.  This is not a visit in which I would anticipate a long list of deliverables coming out of it.  I think this is – this is a really critical series of engagements that we’ll have in Beijing at a crucial time in the relationship that we again hope will, at a minimum, reduce the risk of miscalculation so that we do not veer into potential conflict.  I think it’s incredibly serious.  It’ll be a substantive and productive agenda that we’ll have before us, but again, the objective is to focus on those topline goals, not necessarily to produce a long list of deliverables.

Kurt, can I turn it over to you?

MR CAMPBELL:  Yeah, I would just simply say that a clear intent – a clear picture of mutual intent is an important aspect of progress, particularly in the current phase of bilateral relations.

MR PATEL:  Let’s next go to the line of Humeyra Pamuk from Reuters.

QUESTION:  Hi, thanks for doing this.  I just want to sort of push you a little bit more on John’s question about success or your seeming expectation that there won’t be one.  There is a sense among many people that the United States is meeting with China for the sake of meeting and not really making any progress in any of the topics.  I’m wondering whether you agree with that.  Maybe not on this trip, but whether you have any strategy to basically overcome that and go beyond that.  I mean, it’s been over two years since Alaska, which was a meltdown, and here we are about to go to China again; and we’re being told that we shouldn’t expect a breakthrough.

I’m just wondering what’s the way to – what’s the way to sort of overcome that.  And specifically on one topic, which is fentanyl, which is key to this administration, I’m wondering if you’re expecting any deliverables or any sort of increased cooperation from the Chinese on that, and how are you going to go about securing that?  Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Well, Humeyra, thanks very much.  Well, I fundamentally disagree with the assessment that somehow we’re meeting for the sake of meeting.  That’s not how the United States engages in diplomacy.  I think that the issues at stake are simply too significant to take that kind of approach.  I think I’ve outlined a very significant and substantive agenda, but I just – I do think we need to be realistic.  We’re not going to Beijing with the intent of having some sort of breakthrough or transformation in the way that we deal with one another.  We’re coming to Beijing with a realistic, confident approach and a sincere desire to manage our competition in the most responsible way possible.

We do hope at a minimum that we will achieve that goal.  And we also do hope, of course, to make progress on a number of concrete issues, but I can’t – I can’t predict to you now what the outcomes are now.  But I hope I’ve made clear that – just how significant these exchanges will be and what our objectives are.  I still think it would be wise not to have expectations of a long list of deliverables because that’s not where we are, I think, in the bilateral relationship right now.

Kurt, would you like to add to that?

MR CAMPBELL:  Dan, why don’t you take the fentanyl question she asked at the end, but I thought —


MR CAMPBELL:  — you answered that perfectly.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Sorry.  Yeah, on fentanyl – sorry, Humeyra – look, obviously, this will be one of the most important issues – it is one of the most important issues in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.  It will feature prominently, I’m confident, in the Secretary’s discussions in Beijing, and we are focused intently on making as much progress as we can because this is an absolutely critical and urgent issue for the United States.

MR PATEL:  Let’s next go to the line of Jenny Hansler from CNN.

QUESTION:  On the issue of the communications channel, do you expect this trip to move the needle forward on potential communications between Secretary Austin and his counterpart?  Will there be any move to lift sanctions on that Chinese counterpart?  And then more broadly, to put a finer point on it, is it just because the Chinese seem open to having these discussions that this trip was rescheduled now?  Can you give us any more color on why the administration deemed now to have the proper conditions to reschedule this trip?  Thank you.


MR CAMPBELL:  So I’ll start with the first part so that —


MR CAMPBELL:  You gonna ahead, Dan.  And then I’ll do the – I’ll do the mil-to-mil part.


MR CAMPBELL:  But why don’t you do the second part.  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Yeah, look, Jenny, when the Secretary postponed his travel in February, we made very clear the reasons why we were doing so and why the trip at that time simply would not have been productive.  And we said that we would look to reschedule the trip when conditions permitted.  I think in the intervening months since then, based on the range of interactions that I’ve described earlier in our conversation, I think there’s a realization on both sides that it is important to have these channels of communication.  I do think there’s a shared interest in managing our competition, reducing the risk of miscalculation.  And I think both sides, again, through the many conversations in recent weeks, I think have come to the shared conclusion that now is the right time to engage at this level.  Kurt?

MR CAMPBELL:  Look, we are going to continue to advocate for appropriate military-to-military contact and dialogues.  We think that is an essential feature for maintaining communication.  And these lines of communication can be critical during a crisis or to deal with inadvertence.  I think you know we’ve advocated for these discussions consistently, and China has resisted some of those efforts.  I believe Secretary Blinken will advocate strongly that these lines of communication are necessary, they’re how mature, strong militaries interact, and the stakes are just too high to avoid these critical lines of communication.

MR PATEL:  Thanks so much.  Let’s next go to the line of Shaun Tandon with AFP.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible) the risk of trying to potentially – trying to use force.  What’s the message going to be?  Do you think there’s going to be – beyond the talking points, is there any prospect for any progress there in terms of easing the relationship, reducing tensions over the strait?  And also Ukraine – to what extent do you think the Secretary is going to speak to China about its initiatives in Ukraine, what it bills as its peace push, or about its relationship with Russia?  Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Shaun, can I just clarify your first question was on the cross-strait situation and prospects for progress there?  Is that right?

MR CAMPBELL:  Yeah, we —

QUESTION:  Exactly.  Exactly.

MR CAMPBELL:  Yeah, Shaun, we missed the first part of your question, Shaun.  You might want to just restart that.  I apologize.  We’ve got the last part on cross-strait, but – the last part of the question, but I didn’t hear the opening part.  Maybe you could just repeat it quickly, and then Dan can start and I will jump in.

QUESTION:  Sure, no problem.  No problem.  Just the cross-strait situation – there have been a number of predictions by U.S. officials that that China – or not predictions, but estimations that China could be in a position to use force and might be willing to do that.  What’s your assessment about what the U.S. can do particularly on this trip to manage cross-strait tensions?  Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Yeah, Shaun, thanks very much.  Look, as I indicated in my initial lay-down, you can fully expect that when Secretary Blinken is in Beijing we’re going to have a number of candid exchanges on some of the areas of significant difference between the United States and China.  And I think cross-strait issues and issues related to Taiwan have always been among the most important and challenging and sensitive issues between the United States and China.  And I think you can anticipate, as has been the case in every bilateral meeting I’ve been in with the Chinese, that there’ll be a candid exchange on the cross-strait situation.  I think you can anticipate that the Secretary will reiterate America’s abiding interest in the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

And then obviously, as well, just given the centrality, I think, globally, of Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, I think you can fully anticipate that there will be another candid exchange between the Secretary and his counterparts in Beijing on that issue – again, as there has been, I think, between U.S. and Chinese senior officials since the Russian invasion.  Kurt?

MR CAMPBELL:  Yeah, I would just add two things to that.  When you look at the larger context of our diplomacy, you will note, over the last two years, the range of countries and institutions that have spoken up clearly of their interest to see the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.  That is a significant development, a very clear statement of global concern about this set of issues.  And I think the United States seeks a clear, bipartisan, strong determination to maintain peace and stability along the lines that Dan suggested.

I do think, as was indicated, Ukraine will be a topic of discussion.  I think it is undeniable that there are elements of China’s policy towards Ukraine and its engagement with Russia that we watch carefully and that we have concerns over, and that this will be a topic of conversation, I’m sure, when Secretary Blinken sits down with his counterparts.

MR PATEL:  Let’s next go to line of Iain Marlow with Bloomberg.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible) detail on whether Blinken will discuss the previous U.S. concerns about China potentially providing lethal aid to Russia as the war drags on?  I know that’s been a topic of concern in the past, but just wondering if that’s going to come up as part of those discussions on Ukraine.  Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KRITENBRINK:  Iain, thanks very much for your question.  Look, as I indicated to Shaun a moment ago, I think – obviously has been the case since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  I’m absolutely confident that there will be a full and robust exchange on the situation in Ukraine, and the United States – Secretary Blinken will continue to make clear U.S. expectations regarding Chinese actions in that regard.

MR PATEL:  All right, thanks so much, everybody, for joining.  That’s all the time that we have for this morning.  As a reminder, this call was on the record and embargoed until the call’s conclusion, which will be concluding momentarily.  Thanks, everyone.  We’ll talk to you very soon.


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