Xi and Trump to meet face to face

This combination of file photos shows U.S. President Donald Trump on March 28, 2017, in Washington, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 22, 2017, in Beijing.

The meeting is scheduled on Friday, next week at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

President Donald Trump is predicting "a very difficult" meeting next week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, citing trade deficits and lost jobs. "American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives", he explained.

Xi and Trump would hold their first meeting on April 6-7 at the US president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

(Its deficit with China was $347 billion in 2016, the largest in the world.) "On the trade front we've got serious concerns with what they're doing", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said today.

Zheng said Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan will attend a welcome banquet hosted by Trump and his wife Melania.

Speaking earlier at a briefing on the Xi-Trump meeting, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang acknowledged the trade imbalance, but said it was mostly due to differences in their two economic structures and noted that China had a trade deficit in services.

"But we have big problems, and-I mean, everything from the South China Sea, to trade, to North Korea".

Trump on Friday will order a comprehensive study to identify every form of "trade abuse" that contributes to US deficits with foreign countries.

Trump had to change his stand of negotiating on "One China" policy in order to have first telephone talk with Xi.

When asked by reporters if China would be willing to lift its restrictions on the internet to allow USA companies such as Google or Facebook to do business in the Asian country, Zheng said China is "open to foreign investment".

The timing of the meeting appears tricky, with a US review of China's market-economy status under the World Trade Organization expected to be announced as early as this week. Still, the country is among the top three export markets for 33 American states.

On China-US trade issues, Lu said Beijing is ready to "expand pragmatic cooperation in economic and trade areas, properly tackle economic and trade frictions through dialogue and communication and ensure the healthy, stable development of China-US economic and trade ties".

"The trade relations between China and the U.S. have brought seeable and tangible benefits to both countries", Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang told reporters Friday. His tone softened after he took office, as the United States is seeking China's help in reining in North Korea's nuclear threat.

Zheng further commented that China is not pursuing trade surpluses or seeking unfair trade advantages through the devaluation of its currency.

"This is a very risky way to start the meeting", said Amy King, a senior lecturer at Australian National University and expert on Chinese foreign relations, as quoted by the Guardian.

  • Leroy Wright