Why do U.S. senior officials visit China in succession? 

13:32, April 27, 2013  
Edited and translated by Liang Jun, People's Daily Online

On April 24, U.S. deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns began his two-day visit to China. Burns is the fourth U.S. senior official Chinese top leaders met in recent one month.

Analyst said a series of visits by U.S. senior officials to China aim to find out the direction for the future development of Sino-U.S. relationships after the leadership transitions in the world's two largest economies amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Former U.S. senior officials also visit Beijing one after another

After the conclusion of China's "two sessions", the country's most important annual political convention, U.S. senior officials paid a series of visits to Beijing, during which, high-level officials of both sides held talks on important issues including economy, foreign diplomacy and military.

On March 19, the new U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, also U.S. president special representative, visited China. Between April 13 and 14, John Kerry paid his first visit to Beijing as the new U.S. Secretary of State. During his visit, the two countries singed and issued the joint statement on climate change. On April 21, Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff embarked on his first visit to China after taking office.

It is learned that U.S. National Security Advisor to the President Tom Donilon will visit China in May. China and the U.S. will hold the fifth round of strategic and economic dialogue in Washington D.C. in July.

Besides the incumbent U.S. officials, former U.S. senior officials including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Financial Minister Henry Paulson, also paid visit to China recently. They both met with Chinese leaders.

China, U.S. "test the waters"

On April 24, several experts interpreted U.S .officials' visits to China at the symposium on Asia-Pacific strategic change and a new type of Sino-U.S. ties.

When interviewed by reporters of Beijing News, former deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said during visits, China and the United States not only talked about Korean Peninsula, but also currency devaluation and H7N9 bird flu.

Wan Fan, professor with the Institute of International Relations Studies under China Foreign Affairs University, thinks the primary task of the U.S. officials' visits is "pathfinding". With new leaderships at the helm in both countries, they need to better understand the policy of each other so that they can set the directions for the future.

In addition, the two sides have common concerns about regional hot issues and global issues including the DPRK nuclear issue, the Diaoyu Islands related issue, the financial reform, the energy issue and the Mideast issue.