President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Barack Obama after an Apec summit in China in November.
Robert Wang, a senior US State Department official responsible for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping, said they would discuss a wide range of issues including tensions over the South China Sea and close encounters between military aircraft.
The meeting may be held in an informal setting similar to the talks between the two at Sunnylands in California last year.
"I've heard a lot of comments about how effective it is to actually have smaller meetings where you can actually talk about issues in a more personal way, and I think knowing President Obama's style and, of course, from the US point of view, we did Sunnylands, and so we think that's an effective way of doing things," Wang said in Washington.
There have been simmering tensions in recent years, with the US critical of China's assertiveness over territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, while China is suspicious of the growing US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Relations were strained last week after Washington said a Chinese fighter jet came within a few metres of a US Navy surveillance aircraft in international airspace off Hainan . The Defence Ministry in Beijing said the allegations were groundless.
Both nations have pledged to address their differences, and China has called for efforts to build a "new type of major power relations". Wang said he was not sure whether the US "subscribe completely to the exact interpretation of that".
"I'm not sure what new style model we have, but to me it's really simple … you try to manage [differences] in a way that would not make it uncontrollable or unmanageable."