Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who is on a two-day visit to Washington to meet senior US officials to discuss China-US bilateral ties, had a brief meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday (27 February).

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that the US president pledged to improve bilateral high-level exchanges and cooperation in all areas between the two nations.

The first senior Beijing official to visit the US after Trump's inauguration as president, Yang, also met Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser in the administration. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence were also present during the meeting.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed during the daily press briefing on Monday that the Chinese ambassador and the state councillor held a meeting with Kushner and McMaster and others. He added that Yang also "had an opportunity to say hi to the President before he left".

Spicer noted that the meeting gives an opportunity to both the countries to "talk on shared interests of national security". He said that a delegation of six people had arrived from Beijing to Washington.

Donald Trump Xi Jinping
US President Donald Trump (R) met Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi at the White House on Monday, 27 February, and pledged to enhance cooperation with Chinese President Xi Jinping's (L) administration - File photo Reuters

According to Xinhua, Yang reiterated Chinese President Xi Jinping's willingness to enhance bilateral ties for a mutually beneficial future. Trump responded by saying the US highly regarded its cooperative relations with China and shared the thought that the two nations need to "enhance high-level exchanges, strengthen cooperation in all areas, and increase coordination and cooperation on global and regional affairs".

The two global powers have been at odds on several fronts in the past, which resulted in a mostly strained relationship. The relationship was further strained after Trump disregarded past diplomatic policies and held direct talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, angering Beijing.

However, the new US president had a recent telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart, during which the two agreed to improve bilateral ties. The visit of the Chinese delegation, on the invitation of the White House, is expected to set the tone for talks and discussions between the two global powers.

Trump reportedly told Yang that he was very happy to hold the very important phone conversation with President Xi.