BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to the United States this year, his first state visit since taking over the ruling Communist Party in 2012.
No dates have been announced for the planned visit and both sides are discussing details of the trip, China’s ambassador to Washington told Chinese reporters.
The comments by Ambassador Cui Tiankai were reported Monday in the state-run China Daily.
On Friday, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said invitations this year also had been extended to the heads of U.S. allies Japan and South Korea as well as to Indonesia.
The visits are a strategic attempt to increase engagement in Asia — a region where U.S. interests have been increasingly drawn into competing territorial claims and worries about China’s rising military and economic power.
There is no shortage of topics to work through, including cybersecurity, North Korea, Chinese relations with U.S. allies in Asia, and human rights.
The announcements come days after the unveiling of an updated national security strategy by President Obama, which touched on the complex and often thorny U.S.-China relationship.
“While there will be competition, we reject the inevitability of confrontation,” the document read.
Xi last visited the United States in June 2013 — a purposely informal affair that occurred in California and did not include a stop in Washington.
He and Obama most recently met in November in Beijing after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.
Xi’s most recent extended visit to the United States was in 2012, while he was vice president. That trip — occurring when Xi was still leader-in-waiting — was a well-staged diplomatic and public relations love offensive in many ways, in which Xi talked enthusiastically of his earlier visits to Iowa as a lowly official to study American agriculture.
This time, experts say, he will be returning to Washington in a much-changed position — as someone who has consolidated power more quickly and ruthlessly than most predecessors, and as a leader who has declared grand ambitions for his country and is eagerly pushing for China to be one of the world’s dominant powers for the 21st century.