China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday in its first official confirmation of the highly anticipated summit that Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to the United States to meet President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida on April 6-7.
The two sides face pressing issues, ranging from North Korea and the South China Sea to trade disputes, and it is amidst such an environment that this first meeting of Xi with Trump, whose presidency began on Jan. 20, is being held.
The announcement was made at a adaily press briefing by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
While speaking of the need to see the big picture while fostering mutual interests in trade relations, he did not give any more details of the meeting agenda.
“The market dictates that interests between our two countries are structured so that you will always have me and I will always have you,” Lu said.
“Both sides should work together to make the cake of mutual interest bigger and not simply seek fairer distribution,” he said in response to a question about trade frictions.
The preparatory work for the meeting was underway, Beijing had previously said. But despite an announcement by the Finnish government that Xi would make a brief stop in Finland on April 5 and western media reports on a scheduled meeting, it had not yet confirmed the trip.
Aimed at mending ties after strong criticism of China by Trump during his election campaign, the summit will follow a string of other recent U.S.-China meetings.
Agreeing to work together with China on North Korea and stressing Trump’s desire to enhance understanding, U.S. Secretary of State Reex Tillerson ended a trip to Asia this month in Beijing.
The U.S. decision to base an advanced missile-defense system in South Korea and Washington repeatedly telling Beijing to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes had had China irritated
U.S. intentions towards self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own,, is also a deep cause of suspicion for China
Accusing it of doing too little to constrain North Korea and criticising its island-building in the strategic South China Sea, during his election campaign, Trump accused China of unfair trade policies.
While later saying the United States did not have to stick to the so-called “one China” policy, a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen had been taken by Trump in December and this had incensed Beijing.
However, to honor the long-standing policy and has also written to Xi since seeking “constructive ties,” he later agreed in a phone call with Xi.
(Adapted from CNBC)