Blinken will begin a two-continent five-nation tour next week, starting in Cambodia where he will attend a Southeast Asian Regional Security Forum, which is expected to be attended by both Chinese and Russian foreign ministers.
Blinken will then visit the Philippines, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
There was no immediate indication that Blinken would meet separately with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov or Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Phnom Penh. However, B Lincoln said on Wednesday that he had requested a phone call with Lavrov to discuss the release of US detainees in issues related to Russia and Ukraine.
Such talks would put an end to months of diplomatic squabbles between the men, who last spoke in February before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Lavrov said on Friday that he was ready to speak with Blinken, but that arrangements had not yet been made.
Blinken last met with Wang earlier this month at a meeting of foreign ministers of the G-20 group of wealthy and large developing countries in Bali, Indonesia.
But their appearance together at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Cambodia will be their first time seeing each other since the president Joe Biden and of china Xi Jinping Called on Thursday for more than two hours.
The regional forum will be the last major gathering of international foreign ministers before leaders’ meetings scheduled for this fall, starting with the annual UN General Assembly in late September and then three summits in Asia in early November: G-20 in Indonesia East Asia Summit in Cambodia and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Thailand.
Russia’s war in Ukraine as well as rising Western tensions with China, particularly Taiwan, is expected to dominate all these meetings between Washington and Beijing. China has been angered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan.