U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's use of phrases and language commonly employed by China's Communist Party during his first trip to the country as top diplomat has left some regional experts wondering if he may have inadvertently endorsed Beijing's push for a new "great power relationship."

Tillerson visited China on Saturday and Sunday for talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, State Councillor Yang Jiechi and President Xi Jinping.

According to readouts and statements during the trip, Tillerson referred to the U.S.-China relationship as "built on nonconfrontation, no conflict, mutual respect, and always searching for win-win solutions" — well-worn Chinese government catchphrases known to Sinologists for their implicit meanings.