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China Official to Visit Washington     02/27 05:39

   China is sending its first senior official to visit the United States since 
President Donald Trump took office, amid uncertainties over trade relations and 
new security tensions in east Asia.

   BEIJING (AP) -- China is sending its first senior official to visit the 
United States since President Donald Trump took office, amid uncertainties over 
trade relations and new security tensions in east Asia.

   The Foreign Ministry said State Councilor Yang Jiechi is scheduled to 
"exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern" in meetings 
with high-ranking U.S. officials during his visit on Monday and Tuesday.

   Yang is Chinese President Xi Jinping's top foreign policy adviser and a 
familiar face in Washington. He has served as foreign minister and ambassador 
to the U.S., presenting a degree of continuity in a relationship now seen as 
somewhat in flux.

   His visit comes as the future direction of relations between the world's two 
largest economies has grown more uncertain following Trump's accusation that 
China was cheating at trade and threats to raise import tariffs.

   Trump has also criticized China's activities in the South China Sea, where 
it has built man-made islands with military features. He has suggested he might 
use Beijing's rival Taiwan as leverage in negotiations and accused China of 
exerting too little pressure on communist neighbor North Korea to rein in its 
nuclear and missile programs.

   China has responded in relatively mild terms and last week Premier Li 
Keqiang expressed hope that disputes with Trump's government could be settled 
amicably, saying that a trade war would "benefit nobody."

   Trump has also appeared to moderate his approach, saying in a call with Xi 
earlier this month that his administration affirms Washington's long-standing 
policy of not maintaining official ties with Taiwan and acknowledging China's 
stance that the self-governing island is part of Chinese territory.


(KA)

 
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