The US expects a “transformational moment” in India ties during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming trip to Washington, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser said as he downplayed chances for a diplomatic breakthrough in China when US State Secretary Antony Blinken visits next week.

“Secretary Blinken’s trip to China will be a significant event, but its likely not even the most significant event of next week when it comes to US foreign policy,” Jake Sullivan said at a briefing in Tokyo.

Blinken will travel to Beijing on June 18 and 19, before Modi arrives in Washington on Thursday.

Biden has made deepening ties with India a cornerstone of his efforts to contain China’s expanding influence, with his administration also hoping to persuade India , which maintains some security and economic ties with Russia, to buy US military drones.

In China, one of Blinken’s objectives will be to manage escalation to ensure that the world’s two biggest military powers do not “veer in to conflict,” Sullivan said.

“Vigorous competition requires vigorous diplomacy,” he added.

That visit to Beijing will be the first by a high-ranking official since Biden took office in January 2021, and comes after he postponed a trip in February after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew through US airspace.

In Japan, Sullivan met his counterparts from Japan, South Korea and the Philippines for talks on regional security.

He met with South Korea’s Cho Tae-yong and Japan’s Takeo Akiba on Thursday to discuss arrangements for a trilateral leaders meeting in the US in the “coming months”.

He praised efforts by Tokyo and Seoul to improve their sometimes fraught relations as tensions with China and North Korea grow.

“The progress that has been made in ROK (Republic of Korea) and Japan ties and that strengthening of the bilateral relationship has had a profound impact on the strengthening trilateral relationship between our countries,” he said.

After their meeting on Thursday, North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its east coast after Pyongyang warned of a response to military drills staged by South Korea and the US earlier in the day.

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