As you receive this newsletter, President Biden’s top foreign policy officials are in the middle of meetings in Anchorage with their Chinese counterparts, the first high-level talks between the two global powers since the start of the Biden administration.

Relations between the countries are as complicated as they are consequential. Conflicts have arisen recently over the Trump administration’s trade war, China’s increasingly authoritarian policies in Hong Kong, its campaign of internment and mass sterilization against Uyghur Muslims and its suspected role in cyberattacks against the United States.

The run-up to this meeting has only brought those tensions into clearer focus. Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, traveled last week to visit the two closest American allies in Asia, Japan and South Korea, but pointedly did not meet with Chinese officials. Instead, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and a top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, arrived on U.S. soil today to meet with Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, for the first time.

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