China and the European Union are holding their first high-level talks since President Donald Trump took office, with both eager to push a message of free trade and open engagement with the world.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will co-chair the Seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue on Wednesday with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China's highest-ranking diplomat.

They will discuss cooperation on issues such as climate change, as well as regional and security issues. The dialogue comes ahead of an EU-China summit scheduled for Brussels in June.

On Tuesday, Mogherini met with Premier Li Keqiang who told her the international community was looking at how China and the EU would work together to tackle challenges including the world economic recovery, global conflicts and terrorism, and Britain's pending withdrawal from the EU.