Trump welcomes Xi in Florida resort for high-stakes summit

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South African President Jacob Zuma and Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping walks with South African President Jacob Zuma upon his arrival at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 2, 2015. Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi

US President Donald Trump welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to his resort in Florida for the two leaders’ first summit. Trump said they have "developed a friendship" before they dined at his Mar-a-Lago retreat. Xi’s wife, folk singer Peng Liyuan, and US first lady Melania Trump were also in attendance.

Trump and his Chinese counterpart are expected to talk about trade and foreign policy. The POTUS said he and the leader of China had a lengthy discussion. “I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing,” he joked.

Harry Kazianis, defence studies director at the Center for National Interest, said the POTUS and Xi are both looking to have a successful summit.  "For both sides, they are going to want a successful summit and that is what we're going to see," Kazianis said. He added that such type of summit is about pageantry as the Chinese intend to get the right photo ops to show that XI is an equal to Trump, and that China is a superpower.

According to the White House, the location for the summit was selected so the two leaders can have a more relaxed feel during their discussions. The summit was also joined by the president’s top advisers, including first daughter Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Trump did not leak what he wanted China to specifically do, but suggested that there was a link between "terrible" trade agreements the US made with the country and Pyongyang's provocations, claiming that the two issues really mix. He also previously said that the US will act by itself if China doesn't apply more pressure on North Korea.

Anthony Ruggiero, an East Asia expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said China may be more willing to accommodate the US president on trade and economic concerns than on regional security issues. Per Bloomberg, Xi will likely seek assurances that Trump will not get in the way as far as the territorial dispute over the South China Sea is concerned. Trump agreed to respect "one China" policy in a phone call with Xi in February. The two leaders are also expected to talk about climate change.

Former US-China Business Council President Robert A Kapp said the best outcome of the summit would be something that makes Trump look good and that makes Xi look good to those watching in China. He added that it is an optical matter rather than a substance matter according to CNBC.

Video Source: YouTube/ABC News

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