Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson will travel to Beijing and Nanjing from January 13-16, when he will meet with Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong, who commands the People's Liberation Army Navy.
"A routine exchange of views is essential, especially in times of friction, in order to reduce risk and avoid miscalculation," Richardson said in a statement.
"Honest and frank dialogue can improve the relationship in constructive ways, help explore areas where we share common interests, and reduce risk while we work through our differences."
The visit comes after tensions spiked last fall between China and the US over financial sanctions, an ongoing trade dispute and the sale of US military aviation parts to the self-governing island of Taiwan.
Richardson and Shen did meet at a symposium in the United States, and have held three discussions via video teleconference, the Navy said.
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