Donald Trump to meet with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago

Posted at 7:21 AM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 07:21:12-04

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with US President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on April 6 and 7, the two nations’ governments have announced.

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on March 30, 2017 shows China’s President Xi Jinping (L) delivering a speech on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, on January 17, 2017 in Davos, and US President Donald Trump (R) announcing the final approval of the XL Pipline in the Oval Office of the White House on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.

It will be the first meeting between the two men in what many argue is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and it comes amid heightened tensions in Asia.

Trump has said in recent weeks that North Korea is one of the biggest security challenges he faces as president and has called on China to rein in Pyongyang, which US officials believe is preparing for another nuclear test.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea and China’s continued building of man-made islands are also likely to be on the agenda, as will be the trade relationship between the two countries.

As the White House put it in a statement announcing the visit, “The two leaders will discuss global, regional, and bilateral issues of mutual concern.”

Xi will visit Florida after a trip to Finland, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Campaign trail attacks

Despite Trump’s fiery attacks on the campaign trail — accusing China of “raping” the US economy and stealing millions of American jobs, among other things — his administration has taken a relatively hands-off approach in dealing with Beijing so far.

Trump has not followed through on campaign promises to label China a “currency manipulator” on day one of his presidency or to impose steep tariffs on all Chinese imports.

He also endorsed the “One China” policy, which has governed the fragile relations between the United States, China and Taiwan for decades, after questioning its legitimacy shortly after his election.

Earlier this month, a senior US administration official told CNN that Trump planned to host Xi at his estate.

The details were ironed out by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who visited Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing earlier this month.

Trump has already formed a bond with another Asian leader, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, with whom Trump played a round of golf with in Florida in February and met at Trump Tower in New York as president-elect.