U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to travel to Beijing as early as next week to hold talks with senior Chinese officials, U.S. political news website Politico reported Thursday.
If the trip goes ahead, it would be the first visit to China by a ministerial-level official from Washington since the start of President Joe Biden's administration in 2021.
Despite months of heightened tensions between the United States and China, the report comes amid the Biden administration stepping up efforts to restore lines of communication between the two countries' high-ranking officials.
Earlier this week, Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu in Beijing, with both Washington and Beijing characterizing their discussions as constructive.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday, "Our door to dialogue and communication is always open," but added that the two countries should not communicate for the sake of communication.
"We need to work toward the same goal and bring the bilateral ties back to the right track of sound and stable development," Wang said at a press conference in Beijing.
Blinken had initially planned to visit Beijing in early February in a bid to improve bilateral ties following an in-person meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in November in Indonesia.
But the trip was abruptly postponed after Washington detected what it described as a Chinese spy balloon traveling over sensitive areas of the continental United States, fueling further tensions between the two countries.
Although the bilateral relationship remains fraught over a range of thorny issues, such as Taiwan and territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, as well as human rights, there have been recent signs that the Biden administration is trying harder to re-engage with Beijing.
U.S. officials admitted last week that William Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and one of Biden's closest confidants, visited China in May.
At the Group of Seven summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima last month, Biden hinted the situation may improve, saying in reference to U.S.-China relations, "I think you're going to see that begin to thaw very shortly."