As China-US official exchanges slowed down due to increased tensions, according to the South China Morning Post, John Thornton, the executive chairman of Barrick Gold Corp. and former Goldman Sachs president, visited China secretly and received a high-level reception from the Chinese side. He held talks with the Politburo Standing Committee and Vice Premier Han Zheng and discussed key issues such as climate change, Xinjiang, and the resumption of high-level Sino-US bilateral negotiations. This action was described by the outside world as similar to Kissinger’s secret visit to China in 1971.
According to a person familiar with the details of the meeting, Thornton served as an unofficial channel for US-China exchanges during his six-week itinerary, including a three-week stay in Shanghai before meeting with senior Chinese officials in Beijing at the end of August. After that, he paid a one-week visit to Xinjiang.
The source said that Thornton was received by Vice Premier Han Zheng when he was in Beijing. The key issues discussed by the two parties included climate change, Xinjiang and the conditions for the resumption of bilateral talks, and they were all reported to be frank.
“Han Zheng told Thornton that China is not seeking to challenge or replace the United States.” The source quoted Han Zheng as saying that China and the United States should resume cooperation, but mutual respect must be the prerequisite, that is, the United States should treat China as an equal. Partner.
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