Best of frenemies? Trump & Xi to tackle trade, military tensions in 1st meeting

Thursday, April 6, 2017
By Paul Martin
6 Apr, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping is heading to the US for a first meeting with Donald Trump. The Republican president launched numerous barbs at Beijing during his election campaign, and since being sworn in has confronted China on issues such as North Korea.

Xi will meet Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, late in the afternoon on Thursday. After a formal dinner with their wives, the leaders will kick off a summit continuing into Friday, when a working launch is scheduled.

While on the campaign trail Trump didn’t hold back on China, which he accused of stealing American jobs and playing dirty to get trade advantages. He threatened to slap import taxes on Chinese goods and take other drastic steps unless Beijing offers a “better deal” to America.

Chinese officials preferred to dismiss Trump’s statements as rhetoric aimed at voters, rather than a declaration of future policies. Xi’s visit is likely to test how far the US president will actually go now that he is in the White House.

Trump also criticized China for failing to rein in North Korea, a country that relies on China for aid, jobs for guest workers and other elements crucial for its ailing economy. Pyongyang was subjected to UN-mandated sanctions for its continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and China’s willingness to enforce those sanctions is essential.

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