BEIJING: China’s top diplomat will be in the US this week, becoming the highest-level Chinese official to visit the United States since President Donald Trump was elected.
China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi will meet with senior American officials on Monday and Tuesday to discuss “bilateral ties and issues of common concern” the foreign ministry announced late Sunday.
US-China relations have been strained by Trump’s criticisms of Beijing’s handling of North Korea and its trade policies as well as his questioning of Washington’s long-standing “One China” policy.
The official Xinhua news agency confirmed Yang will be the first senior Chinese official to visit the US since Trump took office.
At the top of the agenda will be the arrangements for a meeting between Trump and Xi, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies told Xinhua.
In February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a G20 foreign ministers meeting in Germany, where the American urged Beijing to help rein in North Korea after its series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Tensions between the two giants have eased somewhat since Trump reaffirmed Washington’s “One China” policy in a conciliatory phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month.
Since then, Beijing has stepped up its pressure on Pyongyang by announcing a ban on imports of coal from North Korea—an economic lifeline for the isolated country.
On the presidential campaign trail last year, Trump regularly attacked China for stealing American jobs and running a massive, unfairly won trade surplus with the US which he would reverse by whatever means necessary.