Chinese state media say Trump to visit China in 2017

Cheryl Sanders
April 8, 2017

People on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, have been mainly focused on the fashion of Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan and the handshake between the two presidents.

Before Thursday's night's dinner with their wives, Trump said he and Xi already had had a long discussion and had "developed a friendship", and then joked, "I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing".

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think we're going to have a very interesting talk.

Donald Trump has hailed the start of "a very, very great relationship" with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, after months of Twitter attacks and tension culminated in a candle-lit steak dinner at the billionaire's palm-dotted Mar-a-Lago resort.

Trump and Xi's meeting Thursday was largely overshadowed by the US airstrike on an airbase in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack, which killed at least 100 people. The strikes were retaliation against Syrian president Bashar Assad for a chemical weapons attack against civilians caught up in his country's long civil war. But economic adviser Peter Navarro, author of the book "Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - a Global Call to Action", prefers trying to isolate China, in keeping with Trump's "America First" mantra. Many blue-collar workers helped propel him to his unexpected election victory on November 8 and Trump wants to deliver for them.

Trade is trouble for Trump and during his campaign he slammed China for its currency manipulation to favour exports and threatened to slap massive tariffs on China if the U.S. fails to get adequate access to the Chinese market.

The U.S. -China relationship has been under pressure over trade, North Korea and China's expansion in the South China Sea. "Trump is very hard to predict, so there is a lot of uncertainty in this meeting".

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now to talk about it.

And trade might be at the top of the list, with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross joining Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

"Even as we share a desire to work together, the United States does recognise the challenges China can present to American interests", said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, also in Florida for the meeting.

On the U.S. side, however, North Korea will likely top the agenda following Wednesday's provocative missile launch.

The protocol-conscious Chinese earlier had privately expressed concerns that the unpredictable Trump might publicly embarrass the veteran Communist Party chief.

Since Trump took office, North Korea has launched at least seven missiles, tested multiple high-thrust rocket engines for a possible intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and made preparations for what could be a sixth nuclear test.

Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times published Sunday that China should help with the problem by using the "great influence" it has over Pyongyang, warning that if it doesn't, the US will solve the problem on its own, and that "won't be good for anyone".

Trump also accepted an invitation from Xi to pay a state visit to China in 2017, the report said. Beijing says its influence is limited and that it is doing all it can. "Spouses will be there", said Matt Pottinger, a top White House expert on Asia tasked with planning the two-day summit.

"I think truly progress has been made", Mr. Trump said, adding that he expected additional progress in the future.

USA security concerns with China also focus on Beijing's expansive territorial claims in the strategic South China Sea.

The US official told Reuters that Washington expects to have to prepare its own actions to fight for US companies, such as pursuing World Trade Organization lawsuits.

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