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China's top diplomat heads to US for bilateral ties

By An Baijie | | Updated: 2017-02-27 19:57

China's top diplomat embarked on a trip to the United States on Monday, the first since President Donald Trump took office.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will meet with senior US officials and exchange views "on issues jointly concerned by both sides", Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news conference on Monday when asked whether the two sides will talk about the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and currency rate issues.

The spokesman said that the two sides are keeping work-level communications for the high-level exchanges.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone earlier this month, and both sides expressed the willingness to meet soon, he added.

Yang, who served as China's ambassador to the US from 2000-2004 and as foreign minister from 2007 to 2013, is the first senior Chinese official to visit the US since Trump took office on Jan 20.

His visit also 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.

Last Thursday, Trump told Reuters that he has not "held back" in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency. Earlier in the day, US Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed no urgency to designate China as a currency manipulator.

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