China is imposing new counter-sanctions on US entities just days before the visit of US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Today, China imposed new sanctions on a handful of US citizens. It is in retaliation for the sanctions the Biden administration imposed on Chinese officials last week for Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong. This last tit-for-tat comes a few days before Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to China. And ties between the United States and China are already strained, although, as NPR’s John Ruwitch reports, there are no signs that China’s sanctions will derail the visit.
JOHN RUWITCH, BYLINE: The sanctions are the first imposed by China under a new law passed in June that facilitates retaliation for foreign sanctions. Those affected include former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson. For years, Beijing responded to US sanctions and tariffs with tit-for-tat measures. By Beijing’s calculations, he had to respond to American Bonny Lin, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who says doing it before Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman’s trip makes sense.
BONNY LIN: Would this seem better if it happened a couple of days after Under Secretary Sherman’s trip?
RUWITCH: That, you say, could run the risk of being interpreted as a sign that the meeting did not go well. And Sherman will be the highest-ranking US official to travel to China since President Biden took office. Relations are at their worst in decades, but there is speculation that the trip could begin to lay the groundwork for a meeting sometime this year between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
LIN: There is a desire to be able to show that the two world leaders can work together.
RUWITCH: And part of that is being able to meet and discuss the issues that you agree on, as well as those that you have differences on.
LIN: And I really hope, as we see more of these incidents on both sides, that they don’t derail progress toward a leadership meeting.
RUWITCH: Because both parties, he says, have significant incentives for Biden and Xi to meet sooner rather than later.
John Ruwitch, NPR News.
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