Trump having 'very interesting' time with Xi

Since he was on the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly criticized what he sees as China's unfair trade practices and its reluctance to exercise its economic leverage over North Korea to curtail Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

"They recognize that shows our clear determination to crack down on this sort of activity", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters. "That's the first time I'd heard them say that". In an implicit criticism, without naming the United States, she said: "China never interferes in the internal affairs of other countries" and "always opposed the use of force in global relations".

The two sides also agreed to a series of future meetings to tackle additional economic and security issues as well as USA concerns about Chinese cyberattacks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) is getting a quick view of America's Last Frontier.

Xi and Trump approved of the preliminary results of the two dialogue mechanisms.

Trump and Xi are spending part of Friday in talks at Trump's estate in Florida.

The most powerful message for the Chinese leader may have been Trump's decision to launch missile strikes at Syria, adding weight to Trump's threat to act unilaterally against North Korea's weapons program.

Mr. Trump had meant to press Mr. Xi for trade concessions and urge China to take a more active role in restraining North Korea's nuclear ambitions, but the high-stakes discussions that began Thursday night and continued Friday were overshadowed by Mr. Trump's response to a poison gas attack blamed on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Trump told Xi the USA would "chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us", Tillerson said.

Trump accepted Xi's invitation to visit China this year, and Washington will coordinate with Beijing about the timing of the visit, according to Tillerson.

The two sides need to further enhance their relations so as to better serve the interests of the two countries and their peoples, and to promote world peace and prosperity, Xi said.

The presidents didn't mention the Syria attack or North Korea during their public remarks Thursday and Friday, and even steered clear of issues like trade that were supposed to dominate the summit.

Despite his tough campaign talk, Trump has so far not followed through on his threat to formally brand China a "currency manipulator", nor to hit Chinese imports with punitive tariffs.

Speaking alongside Trump, Xi said the two delegations discussed important topics and established a good friendship and working relationship.

At a press briefing in Florida, marking the end of the Chinese president's visit, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said Trump had welcomed Xi's invitation but declined to specify when the visit would happen.

"We had a long discussion already".

The two leaders were later photographed strolling the grounds of Trump's waterfront resort.

China and the United States are now each other's biggest trading partner, from which the two peoples benefit a lot, said Xi.

Another matter that didn't come up was the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co.'s nuclear reactor business.

There was, however, no mention in the commentaries of the USA missile strike on a Syrian government airbase, which overshadowed the summit. Mnuchin added that "any such transaction" would have to be reviewed by the Committee on Financial Investment in the U.S., which can block sales of USA companies to foreign investors.

While North Korea was at the top of the agenda, Trump undoubted pressed Xi aggressively across a range of issues, especially trade.

Reducing the US trade deficit with China is at the top of Trump's agenda, and China now acknowledges the need for a "more balanced trade environment", according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. "That's one of the things we are going to be talking about".

"President Trump noted the challenges caused by Chinese government intervention into its economy", Tillerson said on Friday.

On trade issues, Trump called for China to "level the playing field" for American workers, stressing the need for reciprocal market access. White House officials didn't make a direct connection between the action in Syria and any potential strike on North Korea's nuclear program.

The Chinese have opposed efforts to remove Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power and probably took offense at the attack, said Dennis Wilder, former senior director for Asia during the George W. Bush administration.

Ahead of the two presidents' second round of talks, senior Chinese and US officials on Friday initiated the comprehensive economic dialogue, as well as the diplomatic and security dialogue, two of the four pillars of the newly established bilateral dialogue mechanism. "I think that the Chinese will be expressing some anger privately to the United States".

  • Salvatore Jensen