CIA Director William Burns visited China last month for talks with Chinese counterparts, a US official said on Friday, the highest-level visit by a representative of the Biden administration since the downing of a Chinese spy balloon by US forces. .
"Last month, Director Burns visited Beijing, where he met with his Chinese counterparts and emphasized the importance of maintaining open lines of communication through intelligence channels," the official told Reuters.
The visit by the US intelligence chief, first reported by the Financial Times, comes as President Joe Biden's administration insists on keeping lines open and planning meetings between various senior officials in Washington and Beijing amid strained relations.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also spoke "briefly" on Friday with Li Shangfu, China's national defense minister, at a dinner to mark the opening of a security forum in Singapore.
President Joe Biden often sent Burns on sensitive trips to meet with US adversaries. Burns traveled to Moscow in late 2021 to discuss with the Russian president signs of preparations for a new invasion of Ukraine.