China’s top diplomat will make a rare visit to Washington this week, the U.S. State Department has announced, in a move widely expected to lay the groundwork for a visit to the United States by Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month for talks with President Joe Biden.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be the highest-ranking Chinese official to travel to Washington in about five years when he visits the U.S. capital for three days from Thursday.

Wang, who also serves in a higher-ranking position as director of the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign affairs commission, will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “to discuss a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues as part of ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the U.S.-China relationship and to maintain open channels of communication,” the State Department said.