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Scoop: China’s envoy visiting D.C. over North Korea and trade
Zheng Zeguang speaking at a news conference in Chicago.
Zheng Zeguang speaking at a news conference in Chicago. Photo: Teresa Crawford / AP.

Beijing has dispatched Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang 郑泽光 for a visit to D.C. starting today, on what a knowledgeable source describes as a “firefighting" mission with the apparent goal of preventing an escalation of tensions over North Korea.

What it means: Beijing is concerned enough about the trajectory of the relationship with the U.S., especially over North Korea and trade, to send the vice minister, who is expected to replace Cui Tiankai as Beijing's ambassador to the U.S.