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Got nothing: Trump says after first meeting with Xi Jinping

The US President, however, added that the two of them did develop a friendship that should serve them well in the long term.

world Updated: Apr 07, 2017 20:28 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Xi Jinping,Trump meets Chinese President
US President Donald Trump interacts with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday.(REUTERS)

After the first round of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump griped, in a lighter vein, that he got nothing out of it but added that the two of them did develop a friendship that should serve them well in the long term.

But that he said just after the first round, before the two leaders met for dinner with their spouses Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan and other members of their delegation—which included Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

“We had a long discussion already,” Trump said before the dinner, adding, “So far, I have gotten nothing. Absolutely nothing! But we have developed a friendship. I can see that. I think, long-term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it.”

Trump and Jinping will meet again on Friday in what is easily the new president’s most consequential encounter with a foreign leader, and a leader of a country he had railed against during campaign as a presidential candidate, saying it was “raping” the US.

The President is expected to raise chiefly the issues of unequal trade between the two countries in which China has a trade surplus of $347 billion and related matters of currency manipulation, besides North Korea, a Chinese protectorate.

Trump has said he expects the Chinese to use their influence—“great influence”—over North Korea give up its nuclear weapons programme. But, he has added, he was prepared to go alone if Beijing did nothing about it.

US officials don’t expect many deliverables from these meetings and have insisted they were mostly about the leaders of the world’s two largest economies getting to know each other, strike a “personal rapport” and a working relationship.

That’s why the meetings were taking place at the President’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago, away from Washington DC and all of the close scrutiny and intense media attention it would have brought.

“The venue of the visit is very important, and the two Presidents want to get to know one another,” Susan Thornton, a state department official told reporters earlier this week.

“This will be their first meeting. They want to build up the type of personal rapport and working relationship that we’ll be able to count on in times of opportunity, but also in times of crisis,” she had said.

The two leaders seemed to have accomplished that limited objective on Thursday, according to President Trump’s brief account of their first meeting.

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 10:23 IST