Trump Lacks Staff for Trade Talks With China

U.S. State of Secretary Rex Tillerson, left, chats with China's President Xi Jinping.

As President Xi Jinping arrived in South Florida on Thursday for his first meeting with United States counterpart Donald Trump, senior think tank researchers in both countries anticipated reinforcement of their mutual understanding and other positive outcomes.

The president has said that if China doesn't exert more pressure on North Korea, the USA will act alone.

After arriving at the resort, the leaders were joined by their wives at a long table for dinner, where Trump joked with reporters about their progress, saying: "We've had a long discussion already, and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing".

The two leaders are meeting for a second day at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as planned Friday.

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.

Their summit brings together two leaders who could not seem more different: the often stormy Trump, prone to angry tweets, and Xi, outwardly calm, measured and tightly scripted, with no known social media presence. And within Trump's administration, there are still divisions over how to approach China.

Trump added that it was a "great honor" to host the Chinese leader.

Patrick Cronin, a China expert at the Centre for a New American Security, said the Trump administration does not have "a reconciled trade and economic policy yet, and the differing views on China in the White House underscore that".

"People don't understand this - but we have tremendous economic power over China", he told the New York Times.

Trump argued then that the Chinese president should not enjoy a lavish sit-down dinner with the USA president because "they want our people to starve".

Trump consulted on Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said he and the president agreed by phone that North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch was "a unsafe provocation and a serious threat". Many blue-collar workers helped propel him to his unexpected election victory on November 8 and Trump wants to deliver for them.

After enjoying a Caesar Salad, Trump, Xi and two dozen other guests will get to choose between a pan-seared Dover sole or a dry-aged prime NY strip steak.

Gary Locke, former US ambassador to China, said, "He's not as cooperative and communicative as his father or grandfather".

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mr. Xi urged that the two sides should promote the "healthy development of bilateral trade and investment" and advance talks on a bilateral investment agreement.

The two leaders are set to meet for the first time to discuss a number of issues ranging from trade to North Korea's missile testing.

Trump had personally informed the Chinese head of state of the Syrian strike, a White House official told AFP.

"I don't expect a grand bargain on trade".

"I don't believe that the President sat there and said 'I'm going to do this to send a message to North Korea, '" Rubio said.

  • Zachary Reyes