Trump drops China bashing during warm Xi summit
US President Donald Trump ditched his trademark anti-China bombast, hailing an outstanding relationship with counterpart Xi Jinping at the end of a superpower summit on Friday overshadowed by events in Syria.
Trump said we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China, effusively at the close of a high-stakes but studiously familiar first meeting between the pair at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Trump said I think truly progress has been made declaring his relationship with Xi as outstanding.
The friendly tone was a far cry from Trump’s acerbic campaign denouncements about China’s rape of the US economy and his vow to punish Beijing with punitive tariffs.
Xi reciprocated Trump’s warm words, saying the summit had uniquely important significance and thanking Trump for a warm reception.
Beijing’s most powerful leader in decades also invited the neophyte US president on a coveted state visit to China later in the year. Trump accepted with a date yet to be determined.
Xi added we arrived at many common understandings the most important being deepening our friendship and building a kind of trust.
The bonhomie extended behind closed doors where the US president’s grandson and granddaughter sang a traditional Chinese ballad “Jasmine Flower” and recited poetry for their honored guests, earning praise from their very proud mother Ivanka in a tweet.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said both the atmosphere and the chemistry between the two leaders was positive, the posture between the two really set the tone,”
The start of the meeting came on a night of high drama as Trump not only met his nearest peer in economic world power for the first time but also launched his first military strike on a state target.
Trump informed the Chinese leader personally of the strike as the 59 Tomahawk missiles were winding their way to the Shayrat airbase.
Although China is not implicated in the Syrian war, Trump’s actions resonate widely, not least in the debate over how to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
China and the United States agree Pyongyang’s programs are a serious problem, but have not seen eye-to-eye on how to respond.
There is a real commitment to work together to see if this cannot be resolved in a peaceful way, said Tillerson.
Trump asked Xi for ideas on how to proceed, but held out the possibility of unilateral action. We are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us,” said Tillerson.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile said that “terrorists” were applauding Trump for launching a missile strike on an airbase of his Syrian government ally.
But he backed calls for an independent inquiry into a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in northwestern Syria on Tuesday that Trump blamed on the Damascus regime.
Xi hoped to obtain assurances from Trump on punitive tariffs and the delay of an American arms sale to Taiwan, at least until after a major Communist Party meeting later this year.
Trump’s position on democratically ruled Taiwan which China considers part of its territory awaiting reunification has been a major irritant since he accepted a protocol-breaking phone call from the Taiwanese president after his election victory.
The US leader apparently did speak to Xi about another thorny issue, telling him of “the importance of protecting human rights and other values deeply held by Americans,” the White House reported.
Source : Reuters