Donald Trump and Xi Jinping: Their First Summit

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping: Their First Summit
Bernadine Racoma

President Xi Junping, accompanied by First Lady PengLiyuan of China, arrived in Florida Thursday for his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S. President will host a dinner in their honor at his estate at Mar-a-Lago. The talks start Friday.

It is expected that trade between the two countries and North Korea’s nuclear program will be top priority in their discussion. There is the question of what the Chinese President’s reaction will be when he’s face-to-face with Mr. Trump. The U.S. President was very vocal about his views on what he thinks was unfair treatment of China on the two countries’ trade agreements.


Pyongyang threatened to send a remorseless blow to the U.S. if they get wind of the slightest unfriendly behavior. It came after Trump said that everything is on the table, military action included, in dealing with North Korea when he met with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister.

Xinhua, the official news agency of China printed a commentary saying that threats of a trade war with China will not be beneficial to U.S. companies. The news agency likewise said that ties between the two countries are not strained. Xinhua also placed a full-page ad in the New York Times stating the importance of the meeting for the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.

Trump’s stance against China

During the campaign and his days in the Oval Office, Trump had strongly rebuked China repeatedly on various issues, such as the lopsided trade gains favoring China, the Asian country’s military presence at the South China Sea, its inaction on the nuclear activities of North Korea, and even the manipulation of their currency.

In recent weeks leading to the state visit of the Chinese President, the officials of the two countries softened their tones. Both are saying that the summit is a favorable chance for discussing their main differences.

Current and former presidential advisers on China policy are optimistic that the waters will not be stirred by Trump and that China will possibly present some well-thought out economic propositions.

However, there is also the fear that the tweet-loving U.S. President might get irritated and frustrated with the scripted monologues of his Chinese counterpart. A good rapport may not be likely because Trump and Jinping are not going to play golf, as this sport is banned in China.


Discussions on what to do about North Korea can be very tricky. President Trump recently said that if China will not solve the problem of North Korea, the U.S. would do it. But this is not a simple issue. The U.S. has spent decades to find a way to stop the nuclear capabilities of the communist country to no avail.

Lawmakers, officials and experts are in agreement that it is a very difficult task. Kim Jong-Un, North Korea’s leader is very powerful and has an erratic personality. A victory for the U.S. can be disastrous to China. On the other hand, it will be costly to go into a military clash, given that the tools of influence of the United States are limited.

Sanctions do not work as North Korea’s black market profits keep the nation going. While the U.S. asks China to put more pressure on its neighbor, China is asking the U.S. to stop its U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

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