Five people familiar with the situation said Burns, a former senior diplomat often trusted by sensitive foreign missions, traveled to China for talks with officials.

The White House and the CIA did not comment on these reports.

In April, William Burns said that China is the main geopolitical challenge for the United States in the XXI century.

In October 2021, the CIA announced the creation of a special center in its structure to counter the "global challenge" from China.

The China-related mission center will deal with the "global problem posed by the People's Republic of China."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry called the creation of such a center in the CIA a manifestation of the mentality of the Cold War era.