'Tremendous progress' in China talks

Their widely watched handshakes were polite, with both US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping smiling at each other.

Trump said in a brief appearance before reporters Friday that he and Xi made "tremendous progress" in their talks and that he believes "lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away".

President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla.

As the two leaders wrapped up a Florida summit overshadowed by USA missile strikes in Syria overnight, Xi joined Trump in papering over, at least in public, deep differences over issues ranging from trade to North Korea. Those strikes added weight to Trump's threat last week to act unilaterally against North Korea's weapons program. The strikes were launched Thursday night as Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi dined at the club.

On Friday, the unpredictable Trump not only set a different tone but also avoided any public lapses in protocol that Chinese officials had feared could embarrass their leader.

They are the children of Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who played an important role in paving the way for the first meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Xi.

After the meeting, Trump took Xi on a walk around the manicured grounds of his lavish Spanish-style complex. It was the first direct US assault on the Russian-backed government of Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war. Its U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, never mentioned the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, or the US airstrikes, at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday.

Military options against North Korea are much riskier than those against Syria.

President Donald Trump says it's been "very interesting" to spend time with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his delegation.

Trump has said the USA will act alone if China doesn't exert more pressure on North Korea.

China is Alaska's leading trade partner, buying more than $1 billion in Alaska products in 2016.

Later, they plan a business meeting and dinner at a downtown Anchorage hotel before Xi returns to the airport for the 4,000-mile trip to Beijing.

Speaking to reporters while traveling to Florida, Trump suggested there was a link between "terrible" trade agreements the USA has made with China and Pyongyang's provocations. "I think truly progress has been made", and an "outstanding" relationship had developed between him and Mr. Xi, said Mr. Trump.

The White House downplayed expectations for a breakthrough on issues like trade and tariffs, insisting that the 24-hour summit is mostly an introductory meeting for the two leaders.

On trade issues, Trump called for China to "level the playing field" for American workers, stressing the need for reciprocal market access.

"Even as we share a desire to work together, the United States does recognize the challenges China can present to American interests", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the summit.

Xi was expected to seek assurances that Trump will not interfere in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea or question the "One China" policy by reaching out to Taiwan's leader again, as Trump did during the transition. Some $347 billion of the $502 billion trade deficit recorded by the USA past year was with China. The two sides should promote the "healthy development of bilateral trade and investment" and advance talks on a bilateral investment agreement, Xi said, according to a statement on China's Foreign Ministry website.

  • Leroy Wright