BEIJING - US Deputy National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon and National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers are traveling to China this weekend for high-level talks aimed at ironing out touchy issues in bilateral relations.
The White House officials, who are scheduled to arrive on Sunday and stay until Wednesday, will meet Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo to "discuss a wide range of issues touching on bilateral and international issues", the White House said.
Diplomatic sources said that, in addition to Wang and Dai, the two Chinese vice-premier-level state leaders, who are in charge of the economy and foreign policy, Donilon and Summers will meet a cluster of senior Chinese officials from the military, banking and economic sectors, as well as from Party organs.
The visit is the second in a year from a high-ranking US delegation aimed at ironing out tension on issues ranging from currency policy to military ties.
In March, the US sent Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and Jeff Bader, the US National Security Council's senior director of Asian affairs, to China in an attempt to improve ties. Bader is also believed to be part of the current US delegation, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Tension between China and the US has been building since the beginning of the year as a result of disputes about the US arms sale to Taiwan in January, differences about China's currency policy, recent comments from the US about South China Sea issues and the US involvement in naval exercises in the Yellow Sea.
The two countries have also differed over the Iran nuclear issue and the Korean Peninsula situation.
With Chinese President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart Barrack Obama having met twice recently to improve the overwhelmingly negative ambience and after a bilateral Strategic and Economic Dialogue in May managed to stabilize the deteriorating relations between the countries, disputes between the powers have been contained and prevented from further deteriorating but clashes have still happened from time to time.
Experts believe economic and military issues will be the focus of the latest visit.
The US economy is facing the risk of double-dip recession and the Obama administration needs China's cooperation, said Fu Mengzi, a professor from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
According to Fan Jishe, a professor with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the US wants to exert more pressure on China's currency and is also eager to restart Sino-US military interaction.
Experts are viewing the visit as positive for the easing of the tension between the two countries.
"Although it is difficult to see a full recovery of Sino-US relations any time soon, this dialogue will benefit both countries," said Shi Yinhong, a professor at Renmin University of China.
Shi said the two nations will probably also discuss how the stalled Six-Party Talks about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula might be restarted.
Despite the recent challenges between the two countries, analysts said the latest visit is, in fact, part of the regular exchanges between China and the US. The two nations have already established a wide range of channels for communication to stop problems from magnifying.
Wang Haishan contributed to this story.