Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives in US for talks with Donald Trump

"I think that is a lost opportunity if [the topic of climate change is] not raised", Barbara Finamore, founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council's China program, told The Independent.

Xi and Peng will attend a welcome banquet hosted by Trump and Melania.

The most urgent problem facing Trump and Xi is how to persuade nuclear-armed North Korea to halt unpredictable behavior like missile test launches that have heightened tensions in South Korea and Japan.

Anthony Ruggiero, an East Asia expert at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said China may be more willing to accommodate Mr Trump on trade and economic issues than on regional security issues, including North Korea.

China's president Xi Jinping has arrived in Florida ahead of meetings with United States counterpart Donald Trump.

Some U.S. foreign policy analysts cautioned that the summit is premature, given that Trump has yet to fill hundreds of higher-level staff positions at government agencies, including the Pentagon and State Department, and the administration's China policy has not yet been clearly developed. Years of planning went into what the White House touted as an informal "shirt sleeves summit" between President Obama and Xi at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage in 2013. "For many years, this issue was one of the brighter spots of the U.S". A D.C. meeting shows we can focus on interests, which is what the Chinese expect.

Trump landed at the same airport about an hour later and is set to greet Xi at Mar-a-Lago Thursday evening, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Trump appeared lighthearted earlier Thursday as he greeted Xi at Mar-A-Lago, gesturing and pointing to journalists as they tussled to get a shot of the two leaders together for the first time. They will instead stay at the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa in nearby Manalapan.

Xi said he received a warm reception from members of the Trump administration and the two sides came to "many understandings" after holding "in-depth and lengthy communications".

It also remains to be seen whether the Obama administration's deal with Beijing to curb Chinese cyber-theft for economic gain and its hacking of U.S. companies will be addressed.

China, considered the only country with any meaningful influence with the North, has been reluctant to use the leverage for fears that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and even its collapse, which could lead to the emergence of a pro-U.S. nation on its border.

Weeks later, however, Trump and Xi spoke by phone and the White House put out a statement affirming the policy followed by every president since Richard Nixon.

Several protests were held in Florida during Xi's visit.

"Even as we share a desire to work together, the United States does recognise the challenges China can present to American interests", said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, also in Florida for the meeting. They provide North Korea with food, energy assistance, all kinds of economic aid.

China has long interpreted that language to indicate no interference on issues such as Tibet and human rights, but Thornton said that interpretation was off base. Asked if he is ready to act unilaterally if China does not help, Trump said, "Certainly I would be", according to Reuters.

  • Tracy Ferguson