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US-China Summit Leads to High Expectations

Trump and Xi were positive about their first summit and the rapport is expected to give rise to mutually agreeable developments
Donald Trump (L) and Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 7Donald Trump (L) and Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 7

US President Donald Trump ditched his trademark anti-China bombast, hailing an “outstanding” relationship with counterpart Xi Jinping at the end of a superpower summit on Friday overshadowed by events in Syria.

“We have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China,” Trump said effusively at the close of a high-stakes but studiously familiar first meeting between the pair at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, AFP reported.

“I think truly progress has been made,” Trump said, declaring his relationship with Xi as “outstanding”.

Xi reciprocated Trump’s warm words, saying the summit had “uniquely important significance” and thanked Trump for a warm reception.

Beijing’s most powerful leader in decades also invited the US president on a coveted state visit to China later in the year. Trump accepted, with a date yet to be determined.

We “arrived at many common understandings”, Xi added, “the most important being deepening our friendship and building a kind of trust.”

  Winter White House

The start of the meeting came on a night of high drama as Trump not only met his nearest peer in economic world power for the first time, but also launched his first military strike on a state target.

Trump informed the Chinese leader personally of the strike as the 59 Tomahawk missiles were winding their way to the Shayrat airbase.

China and the United States agree Pyongyang’s programs are a serious problem, but have not seen eye-to-eye on how to respond.

“There is a real commitment to work together to see if this cannot be resolved in a peaceful way,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump asked Xi for ideas on how to proceed, but held out the possibility of unilateral action.

“(We) are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us,” said Tillerson.

  Deliverables

There appeared to be little in the way of concrete achievements during 24 hours in the sun, but officials said that a rapport had been built that will carry on the next four years.

There was little evidence of Xi’s promised “tweetable deliverables” designed to smooth ties, but they may be rolled out during a 100-day plan on trade.

Sources briefed on Xi’s plans promised a package of Chinese investments aimed at creating more than 700,000 American jobs—the same number China’s regional rival Japan pledged to Trump during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Mar-a-Lago visit in February.

In return, Xi hoped to obtain assurances from Trump on punitive tariffs and the delay of an American arms sale to Taiwan, at least until after a major Communist Party meeting later this year.

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