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Blinken set to meet Chinese leaders as superpowers manage rivalry

BEIJING - Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to meet top Chinese leaders on Friday, capping a trip that included a visit to a basketball game and a conversation with Chinese college students with a weightier effort to dial back China's support for Russia's defense industry and to get it to crack down on Chinese companies' role in the global fentanyl trade.

Relations have improved significantly since Blinken last visited 10 months ago, after a Chinese spy balloon's transit across the United States set off an unusually broad national blowback to China's espionage activity. Since then, conversations have become far more routine, enabling the world's two biggest economies and superpower rivals to return to managing their tense but interdependent relationship.

Blinken was expected to meet with China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, for more than six hours on Friday, giving the sides ample time to air their differences about a host of issues that also include reviving military-to-military discussions and China's frosty relationship with Taiwan. Beijing has also complained about U.S. efforts to cut off Chinese access to advanced semiconductors that would enable it to make progress on artificial intelligence that could have military applications.


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