China and India, despite both being founding members of the BRICS group of developing nations and having increasingly close economic relations, have long looked with suspicion at each other following a brief border war in 1962, which China won.
Both countries were involved in a renewed border standoff which calmed down this month after India agreed to a Chinese demand to demolish a remote army position, a topic discussed when India's foreign minister visited China last week. "The appropriate resolution of this issue again shows that both sides ... are committed to friendly consultation to resolve such problems," Hong said.
Visits to India by high-ranking Chinese officials are generally accompanied by corresponding visits to Pakistan. China and Pakistan call each other "all-weather friends" and their close ties have for decades been underpinned by wariness of their common neighbour, India, and a desire to hedge against U.S. influence across the region.
Li will make his trip from May 19-27, Hong added, without saying how long he would be spending in each of the four countries.