|U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson|
WASHINGTON, March 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's upcoming first visit to China is to build on positive momentum in the relations between China and the Trump administration, experts said.
Tillerson began Wednesday his first three-nation Asian tour that will take him to Japan, South Korea and China. He is to visit Beijing Saturday to hold talks with Chinese leaders and senior officials on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues.
PAVING WAY FOR FIRST XI-TRUMP SUMMIT
Tillerson's first China trip attracts the most attention as the two sides are finalizing details for the first summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, amid media reports that it could take place in early April.
The two sides are also expected to discuss the nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as bilateral trade and security issues.
"The visit is important for establishing the tone even more than the substance of relations between China and the new (Trump) administration," Ted Carpenter, senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, told Xinhua.
Agreement on the schedule and agenda for the Xi-Trump summit would be an important measure of how successful Tillerson's visit will be, Carpenter said.
Once the summit takes place, the two leaders are likely to talk about the DPRK, South China Sea and bilateral trade relations, among other issues, he added.
"The visit should leave the two nations closer to determining a time and agenda for the leaders to meet," Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Xinhua.
Paal expected that the two leaders would instruct their ministers how to hold a follow-on forum for dialogues, such as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), a cabinet-level annual talks held under the Obama administration.
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