U.S. President Donald Trump’s first meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, took place at Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 6. The two leaders were expected to discuss North Korea and trade relations. President Xi has said that China has no reason to spoil its relationship with the United States and has a thousand reasons to build a strong treaty. Trump said before the dinner that he had a long discussion with the China president, but he said he got “absolutely nothing” yet. “But we have developed a friendship,” he said. Some experts believe that the U.S. president should not play the friendship card with China. He should only talk business.
Michael Auslin from the conservative American Enterprise Institute has said that U.S. presidents should not try using a personal touch with China. The Asia expert believes Chinese leaders expect their American counterparts to talk business and focus on interests. Using person touch does not work with China, Auslin believes. He refers to the meeting between Xi and then-President Barack Obama in 2013 that took place in the lush estate of Sunnylands in Southern California. While there was a minor improvement in the relation between the two countries, there were strong disagreements on issues like human rights and maritime security.
This time, President Trump has decided to hold the meeting at a luxurious resort to make the first meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping less formal, according to White House aides. The unorthodox location, which is the U.S. president’s personal property, will help develop a working relation between the two, they feel. According to officials, the China president will spend more than 24 hours at the resort, which would include a working lunch on Friday. The Chinese leader, as well as the delegation, has decided not to stay at the resort overnight. They are going to stay at a hotel nearby.
The Chinese president focused on trade and investment earlier on Thursday. The U.S. president has apparently accepted the invitation and would visit the Asian country later this year. He invited Trump to China at the beginning of the talks. Xi said that the two countries must promote a “healthy development of bilateral trade and investment,” Reuters reported.
“We have a thousand reasons to get China-U.S. relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-U.S. relationship,” Xi said.
Trump wants China to act more on North Korea and its nuclear ambitions. He also wants to talk about Chinese trade practices, which he talked much about during his presidential campaign. Nevertheless, no major deal is expected to happen during the Trump-Xi meeting. These two leaders are supposed to talk more in detail about the issues on Friday. Trump said during his presidential campaign that he wanted to stop the Chinese “theft” of American jobs.
“We have been treated unfairly and have made terrible trade deals with China for many, many years. That’s one of the things we are going to be talking about,” Trump said before the meeting.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier said that Trump and Xi would have “very frank discussions” over issues like trade and North Korea. He said that the White House would like to press Beijing to “find ways to exercise influence on North Korea’s actions to dismantle their nuclear weapons and their missile technology program,” the Washington Post reported.
“China can be part of a new strategy to end North Korea’s reckless behavior and ensure security, stability and economic prosperity in Northeast Asia,” Tillerson said.
Trump earlier invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago but only after having a formal meeting at the White House. They also played golf together. Xi, however, did not allow his aides to play golf at the resort.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]