Date
30 April 2017
President Xi Jinping (left) and his US counterpart Donald Trump are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues from the South China Sea to trade and North Korea. Photo: Reuters
President Xi Jinping (left) and his US counterpart Donald Trump are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues from the South China Sea to trade and North Korea. Photo: Reuters

China’s Xi to meet Trump for the first time next week

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold their first face-to-face talks next week, a highly anticipated meeting between leaders at odds over trade, China’s strategic ambitions, and how to deal with North Korea’s weapons programs, Reuters reports.

The White House said Trump would host Xi next Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida. It said Trump and his wife Melania will host Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan at a dinner next Thursday.

It will be the first meeting between Xi and Trump, whose presidency began on Jan. 20, amid heightened tensions between the world’s two largest economies over issues including North Korea, the disputed South China Sea, Taiwan and trade.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang gave no details of the agenda, but spoke of the need to see the big picture while fostering mutual interests in trade relations.

“The market dictates that interests between our two countries are structured so that you will always have me and I will always have you,” he told a regular briefing.

“Both sides should work together to make the cake of mutual interest bigger and not simply seek fairer distribution,” he said.

US administration officials say the need for China to do more on North Korea, the large US trade imbalance with China, and Beijing’s pursuit of expansive claims in the South China Sea will top the agenda. Trump has sharply criticized China on all of the issues.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing the meeting was be an opportunity for Trump “to develop a relationship in person with President Xi”.

“He’s spoken to him on the phone a few times, but we have big problems … everything from the South China Sea, to trade, to North Korea. There are big issues of national and economic security that need to get addressed.”

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