Donald Trump

China’s top diplomat on two-day mission to US

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 11:56pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 February, 2017, 12:20am

China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, will start a two-day trip to the United States on Monday, according to state media.

State Councillor Yang was making the trip at the invitation of the US government and would discuss issues of mutual concern with senior American officials, Xinhua quoted foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang as saying on Sunday.

Yang’s trip comes more than a fortnight after President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, had their first phone conversation since the US presidential inauguration.

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During the call, Trump reportedly reaffirmed the US’ commitment to the one-China policy, which recognises Taiwan as part of China.

Xinhua said Yang’s visit was meant to reaffirm the tone of bilateral relations set by the two heads of state during their phone call.

Yang’s visit would coincide with the 45th anniversary of former US president Richard Nixon’s ice-breaking visit to China in 1972, Xinhua said. The trip paved the way for Beijing and Washington to officially establish diplomatic ties in 1979.

In what became known as the Shanghai Communique, the two nations agreed in February 1972 that the US acknowledged the one-China policy and would withdraw its military presence from Taiwan.

Uncertainty has stalked Sino-US ties since Trump, who has made harsh remarks about Beijing, came to office.

Diplomatic observers said a personal meeting between the two leaders would be essential to set the tone and direction for their relationship and to establish new ways of communication.

The analysts said the G20 summit in Hamburg in July could be a chance for the two leaders to meet for the first time.

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But it is not clear if Trump will attend the Group of 20 summit because his new administration appears sceptical of multinational political gatherings.

In December on the way to Latin America, Yang met Michael Flynn, then Trump’s pick for US national security adviser, in New York.

Flynn was the most senior official from Trump’s team to have been in contact with Beijing before the February 10 telephone conversation between Trump and Xi. But Flynn resigned earlier this month over his links with Russia.