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Chinese state councilor visits US

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-27 10:56

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi starts his two-day visit to the US on Monday at the invitation of the US government, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced on Sunday.

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

Yang is the first senior Chinese official to visit the US since US President Donald Trump took office on Jan 20.

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

Yang will have an extensive range of topics to discuss with US officials but 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-US relationship is in the fundamental interest of the two nations, and it is also a responsibility China and the US 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-US 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 US officials 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 US. He is a former Chinese ambassador to Washington and former foreign minister, a respected diplomat in the US with a wealth of experience in dealing with the country.

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

The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, climate change, energy and Syria will also possibly be on the agenda, Jia said.

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