Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will visit China on Wednesday as part of efforts to ease tensions between the West and Beijing.
Mr Cleverly has promised he will raise concerns over human rights, the dispute with Taiwan, and the treatment of Hong Kong during his trip.
The UK believes that engagement with Xi Jinping’s administration is essential given its important economic and political influence around the world.
Mr Cleverly follows in the footsteps of US counterpart Antony Blinken, who visited Beijing in June, and his trip will be the first by a UK foreign secretary since 2018.
But the visit will be closely watched by China hawks on the Conservative benches, who have grave security concerns about Beijing’s increasing power.
News of Mr Cleverly’s visit was reported by the state-linked China Daily.
The Foreign Secretary is already in Asia, visiting the Philippines on Tuesday as part of the Government’s strategy of bolstering ties in the Indo-Pacific region in response to China’s rise as an emerging superpower.