President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are likely to announce the reopening of consulates shuttered last year, Politico reported, which would be one of the biggest steps yet to repair ties fractured during the Trump administration.

The U.S. is also seeking to make progress on trade and climate issues, as well as start a bilateral nuclear weapons dialogue  something Beijing has resisted. 

The two leaders, who are planning a virtual summit in the near future, are also likely to announce an easing of visa restrictions, the news outlet reported Thursday, citing sources it didn’t identify.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin responded to questions about the Politico report by saying “many incidents unilaterally provoked by the previous U.S. administration gravely undermined China-U.S. relations.” 

Ties between the U.S. and China have quietly improved in recent months even as they spar over Taiwan and alarm grows in Washington over Beijing’s nuclear arsenal.

Wang added at the regular press briefing Friday in Beijing,  “We hope the U.S. will redress its mistakes and work in the same direction with China to bring bilateral relations back on the right track.”

A group of four Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to Biden urging him to make nuclear risk reduction measures with China a top priority in his meeting with Xi, which has yet to be scheduled.

In July 2020, Washington told China to shutter its consulate in Houston, prompting Beijing to retaliate with an order for a U.S. diplomatic facility in the southwestern city of Chengdu to close.

 The Trump administration said the move was necessary because China directed criminal and covert activity to steal trade secrets and carry out malign influence operations across the U.S., though it never provided evidence of that.

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