Washington, United States (Reuters): American President Donald Trump plans to host Chinese President Xi Jinping at a two-day summit next month, as his administration seeks to smooth relations with the world's second-largest economy, international media reported.
CNN also reported the planned summit, citing an unnamed administration official. It said the plan was tentative and that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was expected to finalize plans during a trip this week to Asia, which includes a stop in China .
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday the White House was preparing for a meeting between the two leaders but was not ready to announce a date.
In previewing Tillerson's Asia visit, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton told reporters it would "to some extent be paving the way for future high-level meetings between our two presidents."
China 's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thornton said the United States was "pursuing a results-oriented relationship with China; one that benefits the American people and one that remains faithful to our allies and presses China to abide by international rules and norms."
She said Tillerson had urged China in previous meetings to do all it can to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and "to create a level playing field for trade and investment."
She said, "We want to be able to pursue a constructive discussion with China that enables us to get at problem areas."
During his campaign, Trump accused China of unfair trade policies, criticized its island-building in the strategic South China Sea, and accused it of doing too little to constrain its neighbor, North Korea.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will visit Japan and Indonesia as part of an Asian tour next month, sources said on Monday, amid concerns that the Trump administration is rolling back former President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia."
Thorton said the United States was a Pacific power and would "certainly be remaining active and engaged in Asia," whether or not the terminology remained the same.