Beijing: US first lady Michelle Obama will visit China later this month. She will meet her counterpart Peng Liyuan, may help smooth strains between the two countries. Obama will visit Beijing, Xian and Chengdu with her daughters from March 19-26.

China’s relations with the US have been strained over disputes over territory in the South China Sea and Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House last month.

Michelle Obama missed meeting Peng last June when she and President Xi Jinping travelled to southern California. Xi’s meeting with Barack Obama was around the time of one of the Obama daughter’s birthdays and the White House said Michelle had wanted to be with her.

Barack Obama is expected to visit Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in the autumn.