U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Hong Kong late on Sunday, the first U.S. foreign affairs chief to visit since China resumed control of the city from Britain in 1997.
She arrived hot off the back of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia, where she had urged China and Southeast Asia to work toward a new mechanism for resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
On Monday Clinton is due to give a speech which is expected to dwell on Washington’s often tense economic relationship with China.
U.S. policymakers have frequently pressured Beijing to allow its yuan currency to appreciate against the dollar, and to drop policies that require foreign investors to transfer patent ownership to China.
Earlier this week Clinton held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at Asia’s biggest security conference, held on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Clinton and Yang playing down the strains triggered by U.S. naval drills, and by President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.
The two agreed that China should take steps with its Southeast Asian nations to establish a “code of conduct” for the South China Sea, a potentially oil-rich region.