U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke on Sunday with incoming Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, appointed last week to the post after his role as ambassador to the United States.
On Twitter, Blinken said he discussed the U.S.-China relationship and efforts to keep the lines of communication open in a phone call with Qin.
On Friday, China named Qin, its ambassador to the United States and President Xi Jinping’s confidant, as its new foreign minister, as Beijing and Washington seek to stabilize faltering relations.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the two spoke by phone.
In a statement posted on its official website on Monday, the ministry said Qin said goodbye to Blinken during the call, while adding that it hoped to maintain close working ties with Blinken and promote Sino-U.S. relations.
Qin, 56, replaces Wang Yi, who had been foreign minister for the past decade. Wang, 69, was promoted to the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party in October and is expected to play a bigger role in foreign policy.
While Qin was optimistic about U.S.-China relations during his brief 17-month stint as ambassador, a post his predecessor held for eight years, his tenure coincided with deteriorating ties between the two.
Wang’s time as foreign minister witnessed a sharp rise in tensions between Beijing and Washington on a range of issues ranging from trade to Taiwan.