China on Tuesday said it expected the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte.
"We understand the US decision on cancellation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's scheduled tour to China, and expect Negroponte's visit," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regular press conference in response to a question.
US President George W. Bush told Chinese President Hu Jintao of the cancellation in a telephone conversation Sunday.
Bush said the US decided to send Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte to visit China to mark the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties instead of Rice, who will deal with affairs related to the escalating tensions in the Middle East.
Qin said this arrangement also indicated that the United States attached great importance to activities marking the anniversary of diplomatic ties with China and that it valued the Sino-US relations.
Negroponte and other US politicians will attend events in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, including a reception, seminar, photo exhibition and ping-pang game.
Negroponte will travel to Beijing Wednesday. During his stay here, Chinese officials will meet with him, according to Qin.
(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2009)