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Blinken meets Xi in Beijing
Blinken meets Xi in Beijing | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Blinken meets Xi in Beijing

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and Tony Blinken is not. No, he's coming back from Beijing, the US Secretary of State, the once-postponed and now-on-again weekend trip to Beijing. It's the first time he, as Secretary of State, has been there. Also, this was a last-moment meeting that included President Xi Jinping, and that's very important because on the ground in China, no attention being given publicly to the trip until Xi meets with Blinken, 35 minutes long, and then suddenly it is everywhere, and it's over 1 billion views, and it's all over state media, and it's all over social media. In a sense, the Chinese blessing the visit to their public and showing that they want to have a more constructive or at least stable relationship.

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Itay Ben On/GPO/dpa

What We’re Watching: Blinken’s Middle East chats, Erdogan’s bid to split Nordics, Peru’s early election, China offers baby incentives

Blinken meets with Middle East leaders

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken picked a volatile time to visit the region. After first stopping in Egypt to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the US’ top diplomat touched down in Israel on Monday, where he took part in a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. But Blinken’s visit comes amid a violent flareup in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Last week, Israel carried out an operation in Jenin in the West Bank, targeting members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in an operation that killed nine people, including civilians. Meanwhile, on Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire on Jews praying at a synagogue in East Jerusalem, killing seven. Then on Saturday, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot a father and son in Jerusalem’s Old City. What’s more, Israel is currently in the throes of a constitutional crisis as Netanyahu’s right-wing government seeks to dilute the power of the independent judiciary. But analysts say that the top agenda item is undoubtedly Iran. Over the weekend, Israel reportedly struck a compound in the Iranian city of Isfahan used to manufacture long-range missiles. (For more on the Isfahan attack and why Iran is feeling increasing pressure at home and abroad, watch Ian Bremmer’s Quick Take here.) It’s unclear whether the US was informed in advance about the strike, but Israeli leadership has in the past clashed with Washington over Jerusalem’s go-at-it-alone approach to dealing with Iran. As things become increasingly volatile in the Iran-Israel shadow war, Blinken presumably wants to make sure that the US is kept in the loop. On Tuesday, Blinken will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's opposition leader Yair Lapid.

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Who is Tony Blinken?

The person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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