Chinese state councilor to visit U.S.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will visit the United States from Monday to Tuesday at the invitation of the U.S. government, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced on Sunday.

Yang will exchange views with senior U.S. officials on bilateral ties and issues of common concern, Lu said.

Yang is the first senior Chinese official to visit the U.S. since President Donald Trump took office on January 20.

President Xi Jinping and Trump had spoken over the phone earlier this month. Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson met in the sidelines of the foreign ministers meeting of the G20 last week.

Yang will have an extensive range of topics to discuss with the U.S. officials but the foremost would be to reaffirm the tone of bilateral relations set by the two heads of state in their phone conversation, said Jia Xiudong, a research fellow with the China Institute of International Studies.

Xi told Trump that building a sound China-U.S. relationship is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and it is also the responsibility China and the U.S. need to assume as the world's major countries.

Yang's visit will coincide with the 45th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's ice-breaking visit to China in 1972, which paved the way for Beijing and Washington to officially establish diplomatic ties in 1979.

Despite twists and turns over the past four decades, China-U.S. relations have progressed ahead as both the Republican and Democratic parties understand the importance of the relationship, Jia said.

During Yang's tour, China and U.S. will have exchanges on trade, security and international issues, on which Trump may take policies different from the Obama administration, according to Jia.

Jia said Yang would be the point man to be sent to the U.S.. He was a former Chinese ambassador to Washington and former foreign minister, a respectable diplomat in the U.S. and has rich experience in dealing with the country.

Xi-Trump meeting will be on top agenda of Yang and U.S. officials, who are to discuss when and where the two heads of state will meet as they looked forward to a meeting at an early date in their phone conversation, according to Jia.

Nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, climate change, energy and Syria are also possible to be on the agenda, Jia said.

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