US President Donald Trump accepts Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping’s invitation to pay state visit to China

April 7, 2017 10:03 am

President (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shake hands during dinner at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to visit China, officials said.
Trump accepted the invitation to pay a state visit to Beijing “with pleasure,” the official Xinhua agency cited officials as saying.
Following months of tensions and Twitter attacks, the US president hailed the beginning of “a very, very great relationship” with Xi as the two leaders sat down together to dine on Thursday.
The Chinese president and his wife, Peng Liyuan, joined Trump and the first lady, Melania, at a private dining room at Trump’s Spanish-style Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
“It is a great honor to have the president of China and his incredibly talented wife – a great, great celebrity in China and a great singer … in the ,” Trump told his guests.
Trump joked that he and the Chinese leader had a long discussion but so far he has “gotten nothing, absolutely nothing.”
“But we have developed a friendship – I can see that – and I think in the long term we’re going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it.”
Before the summit, Trump and Xi were expected to discuss trade disputes and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
“We have been treated unfairly and have made terrible trade deals with China for many, many years. That’s one of the things we are going to be talking about,” the US president told reporters ahead of the meeting.
However, the long-awaited meeting was overshadowed by Trump’s decision to order a massive missile strike against a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical attack this week which Washington blamed on Damascus.
China, which alongside Russia has repeatedly opposed United Nations resolutions against the Syrian government, did not immediately respond to the US military strike.
“This is probably not a welcome development for Xi and the Chinese in terms of optics,” Paul Haenle, a veteran US diplomat who advised George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations on China policy, was quoted by the Guardian as saying.
Trump’s top economic and security advisers, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, accompanied the president for the summit.
“Even as we share a desire to work together, does recognize the challenges China can present to American interests,” said Tillerson.
Trump and Xi are scheduled to hold another summit again on Friday for a working lunch before the Chinese leader departs.
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