The second Washington diplomat, a major player in foreign policy, will soon end her three-decade career in government
The US State Department said on Friday that US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will retire. The 73-year-old official has been heavily involved in shaping Washington’s current strategy toward China and the broader Asia-Pacific region, as it seeks to challenge Beijing on several fronts.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Sherman’s long career as a diplomat in a statement announcing her resignation, saying she had done so. “Help us lead our engagement in the Indo-Pacific, the region where the history of the 21st century will be written.”
“We have deepened our ties with our friends around the world, especially with the Republic of Korea, Japan and the European Union. You have overseen our efforts to strengthen [State] Administration’s capabilities to manage our relationship with the People’s Republic of China, and to build greater rapprochement with allies and partners,” he added.
In an internal memo sent to department staff, Sherman mentioned this Diplomacy is not for the faint of heart. Urge colleagues to “Take courage” and use their power “For good.” She said her retirement will take effect at the end of next month.
With a career spanning more than three decades, multiple presidents and five separate secretaries of state, Sherman has been involved in a long list of important foreign policy decisions over the years. As Blinken’s deputy, her focus was largely on China, and she often served as a spokesperson to explain US strategy toward the People’s Republic.
In comments to lawmakers earlier this year, Sherman warned that so was China “The only competitor that has the intent and means to reshape the international system,” accusing Beijing “Provocations in the South China Sea” Human rights violations, “economic coercion” And “Threatening behavior against Taiwan,” which China considers part of its sovereign territory.
Since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, US relations with China have sunk to new depths. Over the past two years, the Pentagon has ordered semi-permanent transit of the disputed Taiwan Strait by US warships, while then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in 2022 led to unprecedented Chinese military exercises in the airspace and waters around the island. . It held additional war games after a visit by Taiwan’s leader to the United States earlier this year.
The United States and China are holding unannounced high-level talks
However, as Sherman prepares to leave the State Department for good, there seem to be signs of renewed diplomacy with China. Earlier this week, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had an unannounced round of talks with a senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official, the highest engagement between the two countries since Biden met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, last November.