The semi-official communication channel – often conducted through former officials, think tanks and business leaders – has traditionally been an important conduit for the two sides to exchange candid views and float ideas before more formal contacts, according to the SCMP.
“A while ago, people in the United States dared not to talk to us [because of the toxic relationship]. This has changed, particularly from the Democrats side. The semi-official exchanges have again resumed,” Wang Xiangsui, a professor at Beihang University in Beijing, told an audience at a closed-door forum last month. His speech has only now been made public.
Wang said several people closely associated with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden had recently contacted China and talked to Chinese think tanks about how to reset the relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.