Trump turns on charm, drops China bashing in meet with Xi

The Massachusetts Democrat's plan, outlined in a letter that was sent to Trump on the eve of his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, suggests that the USA should agree to direct talks with North Korea in exchange for China's commitment to drastically escalate sanctions against Pyongyang if they fail to negotiate in good faith.

And the Chinese leader has plans to reciprocate the American hospitality, according to the official news agency Xinhua, which reported that Xi invited Trump to a state visit in China later this year. "Tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade".

Trump stressed the meeting was positive despite previously haranguing China for "taking out jobs" and "making us a third world country".

Mr Trump outraged China in December when he took the unorthodox step of accepting a phone call from the Taiwanese president.

Mr Trump is hosting the Chinese president for a two-day visit at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. "I think that the Chinese will be expressing some anger privately to the United States".

The summit was was largely overshadowed by Trump's Thursday night order of a missile strike against a Syrian airfield, following a suspected poison gas attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces on Tuesday.

The meeting is the first real test of the USA leader's campaign promises to win in negotiations with 0America's chief economic and military rival.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea continue to escalate as USA officials consider the best way forward.

Tillerson said Xi agreed with Trump that North Korea's nuclear advances had reached a "very serious stage".

In addition, China says bilateral trade and investment created 2.6 million American jobs in 2015.

"We are in consultations with the other two countries to set the date for the meeting", a foreign ministry official said on the customary condition of anonymity.

Trump has repeatedly placed blame on China - which provides crucial economic support to Kim Jong-Un's regime - saying that Xi can curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions but has refused. North Korea conducts some 90 percent of its trade with China.

With North Korea, the underlying issues are just as complex, but the threat of a nuclear conflict - or even a devastating conventional military attack on South Korea and Japan - makes the stakes far higher.

"They should be happy if they get something fairly symbolic", said Jacques deLisle, who teaches Chinese law and politics at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The friendly banter between the leaders belied growing tension in the relationship after Trump's public criticisms of China and his promises to extract concessions from the country on trade and North Korea.

The friendly tone was a far cry from Trump's acerbic campaign denouncements about China's "rape" of the U.S. economy and his vow to punish Beijing with punitive tariffs.

Trump said he had a good discussion with Xi in their first meeting, exchanged opinions on a wide array of topics, and established a warm personal rapport. The US leader had ignored a shouted question about Syria while he met with Xi.

"We have been looking very carefully at that", Ross said.

But as lawmakers called on Trump to consult with Congress on any future military strikes and a longer-term strategy on Syria, Trump administration officials sent mixed signals on the scope of US involvement.

He said China would maintain "communication and coordination" with Washington over it.

  • Elsie Buchanan