Despite the growing tensions, the Biden administration recognizes that it’s necessary to run the traps on diplomacy even when disagreements crop up, Jacob Stokes, a former national security aide to Biden and former acting special adviser to the vice president for Asia policy, told The Daily Beast.
“We’re trying to move towards a framework for the relationship where we continue to have diplomacy even as we have these areas of disagreement,” Stokes said. “There’s always going to be something that’s happening that we disagree about.”
But at this point it’s not even clear if even key communications channels will be opened as a result of the trip, according to Stokes. Biden administration officials working on this know what it’s like to be undermined by Chinese communications, or lack thereof, in times of crisis—and are likely working to moderate expectations for the outcomes of Blinken’s visit, Stokes said.
“People like Kurt Campbell and Dan Kritenbrink… have been there in earlier instances where one of a few things happened—either China withdrew its participation in certain communications channels because of an incident China didn’t like… or when there was a crisis they would try to call and no one would answer on the other end of the line,” Stokes told The Daily Beast. “They’ve been burned before.”
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