MAR-A-LAGO, the United States, April 6 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday engaged with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, here in a deep-going, friendly and long-time exchange, as the ever first meeting between them catches global spotlight.
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Xi arrived in the southeastern U.S. coastal town of Palm Beach in Florida at noon after paying a state visit to Finland. His meeting with Trump was widely seen as an effort of both sides to chart the course of bilateral ties in a new era.
In cloudy sunshine, the plane carrying him and his wife, Peng Liyuan, landed in the early afternoon at Palm Beach International Airport.
Under the gaze of an enthused welcoming crowd, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife Renda St. Clair, Xi and Peng stepped out of the hatch and waved before they walked down the ramp hand in hand.
During his two-day stay in the Sunshine State of Florida, Xi is expected to hold several talks with Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump calls “the Southern White House,” to exchange views on bilateral ties and major regional and global issues of common concern.
Noting that the first Xi-Trump meeting took place just two and a half months after Trump assumed office, Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm based in New York City, said such an early tete-a-tete will not only benefit both countries, but also serve “multilateral interests.”
A successful presidential meeting will publicly convey a message that the two countries are not caught in an “adversarial relationship,” but to work together to solve problems through “constructive dialogue,” he added.
A DEEP-GOING, LONG-TIME MEETING
While meeting with Trump at the latter’s Florida resort, Xi said there are “a thousand reasons to make the China-U.S. relationship work, and no reason to break it.”
It takes political resolve and historical commitments from leaders of both countries to enhance the bilateral relations in the 45 years to come, said Xi, who also invited Trump to pay a state visit to China in 2017.
The Chinese president also underlined the role of four newly-established high-level mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in such areas as diplomacy and security, economy, law enforcement and cyber security, as well as social and people-to-people exchanges.
Xi urged the two countries to set up a cooperative priority list for early harvest, advance negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty, and explore the pragmatic cooperation in infrastructure construction and energy, among other areas.
He also said the two sides should properly handle sensitive issues, manage and control differences in a constructive manner, and strengthen communication and coordination in major international and regional affairs.
China and the United States should expand their cooperation in addressing global challenges, such as non-proliferation and the fight against cross-border crimes, Xi said.
For his part, Trump accepted the invitation for a state visit to China with pleasure, and hoped to make the trip at an early date.
The two heads of state also informed each other of their current priorities in domestic and diplomatic agenda, and exchanged views on regional hot-button issues.
A COURSE-CHARTING MEETING
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said on March 31 that under the current international circumstances, “the meeting will be of great significance to charting China-U.S. relationship in a new era, advancing the development of bilateral ties in a healthy and stable way from a new starting point, and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.”
Also late last month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing that Trump “looks forward to meeting with President Xi and exchanging views on each other’s respective priorities, and to chart a way forward on a bilateral relationship between our two nations.”
Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1979, the two countries have witnessed twists and turns in their relationship, but have nonetheless become highly interdependent with their interests getting increasingly intertwined.
China is now the largest trading partner of the United States. Last year, two-way trade reached 519.6 billion U.S. dollars. In comparison, the figure was 2.5 billion dollars in 1979.
Although they still have many differences and frictions, with trade and currency among the major thorny issues, the two sides have sought to properly manage them and expand common ground, as the world craves a healthy relationship between the two countries.
Joseph Nye, a renowned U.S. foreign policy expert, told Xinhua in an email interview that he is optimistic about China-U.S. relations for the long term.
“The U.S. and China will both compete and cooperate, but they have more gain from the cooperation dimension of the relationship,” he said.
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