Engaged in a massive diplomatic offensive against Beijing, the US administration receives Friday two senior Chinese officials for a meeting that should allow to say if the time is well to appease, three weeks before a tete-a-tete Trump-Xi .

US Foreign and Defense Ministers Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis are scheduled to meet with Chinese counterparts Yang Jiechi and Wei Fenghe in Washington before a joint mid-day news conference at the State Department.

This second meeting of the "diplomatic and security dialogue", after a first in June 2017, is part of the revival of US-China relations decided by US President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi Jingping.

The latter launched these thematic negotiations at their April 2017 summit in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, after which the Republican billionaire, in power recently, said he had "built a friendship" with the president. Chinese.

The tone has since changed dramatically: Donald Trump has returned to the offensive accents of his campaign, engaging in a trade war with China coupled with an attack on many other fronts.

In a dignified speech, according to some observers, of a new cold war, the US Vice President Mike Pence accused early October in Beijing of theft of sensitive technologies, diplomatic and military expansionism, massive attacks on civil liberties and religious minorities, and even electoral interference to get rid of the tenant of the White House.

Shortly thereafter, Mike Pompeo received an icy welcome in the Chinese capital, and the dialogue this Friday, originally scheduled for October in China, was postponed.

His dress in Washington can be interpreted as a sign of appeasement.

Constructive relationship

"We want to have a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China," US ambassador to Beijing Terry Branstad told reporters on Thursday. "The United States is not trying to contain China, but we want fairness and reciprocity."

The diplomat explained that the dialogue should allow "free and open" exchanges on very diverse topics such as the increasing militarization of the South China Sea, human rights or the control of fentanyl, this synthetic opiate. very powerful responsible for an unprecedented wave of overdose deaths in the United States.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday that her country hopes the talks "will lead to very good results" and allow "deeper understanding" with the world's leading power.

North Korea will also be on the menu, Washington wishing that Beijing maintain pressure on Pyongyang at a time when the North Korean regime calls for a reduction of international sanctions in exchange for advances in its denuclearization.

For the Chinese delegation, the key issue is Taiwan, and the still too ambiguous position of the Trump administration, urged to clearly reaffirm its policy of recognizing only the People's China.

But here too, the tone is conciliatory. China wants to work hand-in-hand with the United States to avoid confrontation and achieve mutual respect and win-win cooperation, said Yang Jiechi, according to reports by China News Agency after meeting Wednesday with US National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Trade China - United States

While warnings are increasing about the risks of the trade war on the global economy, Donald Trump has been optimistic over the past few days about the possibility of an agreement on this front with China, while Xi Jinping has again committed to further opening its market to imports.

The two presidents are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit on November 30 and December 1 in Argentina.