Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China Eyes to Back-Channel Diplomacy to Improve U.S. Ties

China is turning to an old friend in corporate America to bolster communications with the U.S., as President Xi Jinping tries to stabilize the bilateral relationship while gearing up for greater competition between the two powers. A few days before Mr. Xi’s summit last week with President Biden, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Beijing dispatched a delegation of senior policy advisers and business executives to New York to meet with a U.S. counterpart group set up by insurance executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, one of the most successful American businessmen in China. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-turns-to-back-channel-diplomacy-to-shore-up-u-s-ties-11669042014) Wall Street executives have long held a special place in Beijing’s corridors of power. Beijing has viewed Mr. Greenberg, 97 years old, as what Chinese leaders call an “old friend of China.” Mr. Greenberg, a decorated World War II veteran and a major Republican donor, is the chief executive of insurance and investment firm C.V. Starr & Co. and former CEO of insurance giant American International Group Inc. Such a high-level group as the one Mr. Greenberg hosted hasn’t come to the U.S. since the Covid-19 pandemic started nearly three years ago. In that time, relations have plunged to what both sides see as the lowest point in decades, with Beijing and Washington sparring over issues ranging from the origins of the pandemic to China’s human-rights record and its military and economic pressure on Taiwan.

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