Trump turns on charm, drops China bashing in meet with Xi | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Trump turns on charm, drops China bashing in meet with Xi

Trade remains Trump’s chief grouse against China, which has a trade surplus of $347 billion with the US.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2017 21:23 IST
Yashwant Raj
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Friday.
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Friday.(AFP)

While the world’s attention was focussed on the US missile strikes on Syria, Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping quietly wrapped up their first round of meetings on Friday that the American side described as “positive and productive”.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “It was a great honor to have President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China as our guests in the United States. Tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade.”

Trade remains Trump’s chief grouse against China, which has a trade surplus of $347 billion with the US, and he, as presidential candidate, had accused China of cheating, by manipulating their currency, and had once even accused China of “raping” the US.

Trump did raise his concerns on the issue with Xi. The White House said in a statement that he “noted the challenges caused by Chinese government intervention in its economy and raised serious concerns about the impact of China’s industrial, agricultural, technology, and cyber policies on United States jobs and exports.

“The President underscored the need for China to take concrete steps to level the playing field for American workers, stressing repeatedly the need for reciprocal market access.”

The two leaders also discussed North Korea and threat posed by its weapons programme. The US has said it wants China to take the lead on bringing North Korea, over which it has “great influence”, but is prepared to go it alone.

“They agreed to increase cooperation and work with the international community to convince North Korea to peacefully resolve the issue and dismantle its illegal nuclear and missile programs,” the White House said.

To better address important issues, the two leaders also decided to “elevate existing bilateral talks” and established a “new and cabinet-level framework for negotiations”.

The US said United States-China Comprehensive Dialogue will be overseen by the two presidents and have four pillars: the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue; the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue; the Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue; and the Social and Cultural Issues Dialogue.

Trump has also accepted Xi’s invitation to visit China.