Trump, Xi meet again - in shadow of missile strikes on Syria

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with his US counterpart Donald Trump in the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the United States, April 6, 2017.

"I'm meeting with the president of China on Thursday and Friday in Palm Beach, Florida, and I think we're going to have a very interesting talk", Mr. Trump said. "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".

Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center, said: "The more Trump and Xi meet, the better". Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Friday on "Fox & Friends". "All parties should not give up efforts to use political ways to solve the crisis", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters here, deflecting questions over how China viewed United States strikes in Syria which overshadowed Xis first summit meeting with Trump in Florida. "We renew our strong commitments to our allies in Asia and around the world".

Traveling with Trump are first lady Melania Trump, Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce secretary Wilbur L. Ross, chief of staff Reince Priebus, adviser Steve Bannon and National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster.

The summit came as North Korea has been ratcheting up tensions with a series of banned ballistic missile launches, including the latest one earlier this week, in pursuit of the development of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S.

In an interview this past week with Financial Times, Trump suggested he would use trade as a negotiation point in pressuring China to directly engage with North Korea on curbing its nuclear program.

Before the meeting Trump, had said he'd expected a "very difficult" summit, with jobs and trade to dominate discussions along with regional security issues like North Korea.

Trump, declining to provide evidence, says thinks Obama adviser Rice committed crime
This is a real problem. "I don't expect they will (declassify) because I think this is just more obstruction", Swalwell said. Are we threatened now by Syria, and if we go to war is Assad likely to use less chemical weapons or more?

What worries the protocol-conscious Chinese more than policy clashes is the risk that the unpredictable Trump could publicly embarrass Xi, after several foreign leaders experienced awkward moments with the new U.S. president. Their first-night summit dinner wrapped up shortly before the US announced the missile barrage on an air base in Syria in retaliation against Syrian President Bashar Assad for a chemical weapons attack against civilians caught up in his country's long civil war.

Mr Xi is also 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 he did during his presidential transition.

"We can't continue to allow China to rape our country", said Trump while on the campaign trail back in May 2016.

China, considered the only country with any meaningful influence over the North, has been reluctant to use its 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. But more importantly, I think it says a lot about the U.S. power and preeminent leadership role.

"We have been treated unfairly and have made bad deals - trade deals - with China for many, many years - so that's one of the things we're going to be talking about".

An administration official told reporters on Thursday that the administration views "misalignment" as more significant than "currency manipulation" as a cause of trade deficits, signaling another step away from a manipulator designation against China next week.

A senior White House official said Pyongyang would be a key test for the Trump-Xi relationship.

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