04/07/2017, 14.21
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Trump and Xi meet, a summit of 'friendship'

Dinner in honor of the Chinese guests took place at the same time as the attack on the Syrian base. Both the two presidents need to show that the meeting was a success. But the steps China needs to take will be very costly.


Mar-a-Lago (AsiaNews / Agencies) - President Donald Trump says that the first meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping has served to "develop a friendship" between the two. In Trump’s lavish Mar-a-Lago in Florida, last night the two men shook hands, took tea, attended an elegant dinner, with presence of their smiling wives, Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan . The fairy-tale setting was a backdrop to the US presidents flexing of his muscle as he proceeded to attack the Syrian missile base Khan Sheikhun, while he honored his Chinese guests.

On the eve of the meeting, many analysts summarized that the talks - which continue today - would consider the issue of North Korea and its nuclear program, Beijing's expansionism in the South China Sea, the trade imbalance unfavorable to the United States. In the only statement given to reporters, Trump said: "It is a great honour to have the President of China and his incredibly talented wife. We had a long discussion already. So far, I have gotten nothing. Absolutely nothing, but we have developed a friendship,” he said. “I think, long-term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it.”

Trump ignored all of the questions about Syria and North Korea that the reporters were shouting.

Xi had arrived a few hours before at the Palm Beach airport, welcomed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Before welcoming the Chinese delegation, Tillerson issued a statement saying that " “The chief goal of our trade policies is the prosperity of the American worker. To that end, we will pursue economic engagement with China that prioritizes the economic well-being of the American people.”

The relationship is expected to be difficult, although both leaders need this meeting yesterday and today to be touted as a success. Trump and Xi are at a delicate moment: the US president is at a record low of consensus and suffers resistance and opposition on his staff and within his party; Xi is waiting for the Communist Party Congress in October, which should decide whether or not there will be a continuatio of his leadership.

Trump and the US needs the economic relationship with Beijing, but if it is going to be more favorable to Washington, then economic and political reforms are necessary which  China is afraid of having to face.

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