Trump, Xi showdown fails to materialize at Mar-a-Lago

Trump, Xi showdown fails to materialize at Mar-a-Lago

A senior administration official said Donald Trump informed Xi about the strikes as their dinner concluded on Thursday night.

The summit came as North Korea has been ratcheting up tensions with a series of banned ballistic missile launches, including the latest one earlier this week, in pursuit of the development of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S.

China and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate in their efforts to confront North Korea over their nuclear program, according to a statement released by the White House.

After last Tuesday's chemical attack in Syria, Trump said his attitude toward Assad "has changed very much" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said "steps are underway" to organize a coalition to remove him from power. "The objective is for us to increase our exports to them".

- Agreed to draw up a 100-day plan to reduce the US trade deficit with China. "That's the first time I've heard them say that in a bilateral context", he said.

"Tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade".

China's leaders in fact have always been concerned about the yawning U.S. trade deficit with their country, $347 billion in 2016.

Trump briefed Xi about Thursday's strike, the first US military action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and the Chinese leader showed understanding that "such a response was necessary when people were killing children", Tillerson said at a press briefing with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. That may well be why Mr. Xi invited Mr. Trump to visit China - certainly not an unusual invitation - but specified that it be within the next eight months.

Both sides agree that the meeting, which has drawn worldwide attention against the backdrop of mounting uncertainties on the bilateral and global horizons, "was positive and fruitful", said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Undoubtedly the issue came up, but we don't know what the presidents said privately on the matter. Last year, two-way trade reached United States dollars 519.6 billion, compared to USD 2.5 billion in 1979 when the two nations established diplomatic ties.

For China, the meeting was probably a success.

More news: In Japan, Vice President Pence Pushes For Bilateral Trade Deal

The Republican president, who took office on January 20, tweeted last week that the United States could no longer tolerate massive trade deficits and job losses and that his meeting with Xi "will be a very hard one". The two leaders appeared to develop a rapport, she said.

The summit "sent a clear message to the world that it's normal to have disagreements and the key is not to use that as an excuse to have a confrontational attitude", the official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary Sunday.

But Beijing has been reluctant to use its leverage for fears that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and even its collapse, which could lead to the emergence of a pro-U.S. nation on its border.

They remarked generally about "progress" in their relationship and optimism about the future.

Since he was on the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly criticized what he sees as China's unfair trade practices and its reluctance to exercise its economic leverage over North Korea to curtail Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

Trump looked to be in good humour, while Xi wore a rare, sustained smile while posing for photos at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, noted observers.

In a posting on its web site on Saturday, China's foreign ministry said the countries had agreed to "properly" deal with issues of trade friction. Xi wished to establish the basis of a personal relationship with President Trump to show that growing a strong China-US partnership was possible.

He added that they, during the meeting, have also gained better understanding of each other, stepped up their mutual trust, scored multiple major consensus, and built up a good working relationship.

At the top of the list, according to a source briefed on Xi's plans, was 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.

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