A soviet political columnist said by colleagues to enjoy the confidence of Kremlin leader Yuri Andropov is visiting China. He is Alexander Bovin of the government newspaper Izvestiya and is the most prominent Soviet journalist to visit Peking in recent years.
Athough Moscow sources suggest the visit is not designed for ''negotiation,'' it is portrayed partly as a fact-finding trip and comes ahead of the planned resumption of Soviet-Chinese political talks in Moscow this spring. Reports from Peking say Mr. Bovin is slated to meet various Chinese foreign ministry officials.
In an interview with the Monitor shortly before departure, Mr. Bovin said he thought there were genuine prospects for improved Soviet-Chinese relations, although difficult issues between the countries remained to be worked out.