Beijing and Washington shake hands

Beijing and Washington shake hands

Rita Lofano
At the center of the talks between Trump and Xi Jinping are trade, the waiver of tariffs on Chinese imports to the United States, and the threat of North Korea, for which China would be willing to put pressure on Pyongyang, as requested by the U.S.

According to President Donald Trump after his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, ''I think in the long term we're going to have a very, very great relationship''. The leader of Beijing was welcomed yesterday at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. ''I think we have developed a friendship'', said Trump during their candlelight dinner, shaking hands with Xi sat to his right. The first ladies, Melania and Peng Liyuan, sat alongside their husbands, with clothes to match their respective ties: red for Melania, blue for Peng. The dinner was attended by thirty guests, all seated at the same table, which was adorned with red and yellow flowers. In attendance, of course, was Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, both advisors to the White House. Trump’s strategist, Stephen Bannon, was also present, freshly ousted from the National Security Council. However, while Ivanka and Jared were sitting near the guests of honor, Bannon had been moved to the far end of the table. ''We’ve had a long discussion already and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing'', joked Trump. ''It is a great honor to have the President of China and his incredibly talented wife - a great, great celebrity in China and a great singer in the United States''. Dinner was steak, potatoes and roasted vegetables, with chocolate cake and a trio of sorbets for dessert. The wines were strictly Made in the U.S.A. - a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon, both Californian.

US President Donald Trump on the Chinese President Xi Jinping: "I think in the long term we're going to have a very, very great relationship".

North Korea and trade at the forefront

''Nobody really knows what the outcome of the meeting will be'', said Trump yesterday, shortly before leaving the White House in Washington. ''We have not been treated fairly on trade for many, many years. No president's taken care of that the way they should have. And we have a big problem with North Korea'', explained Trump, anticipating the two issues at the core of the bilateral. On analysis, there would be a series of mutual concessions; Xi seems willing to put pressure on Pyongyang to limit North Korea’s nuclear threat, as requested by the U.S., while Trump could overlook Beijing’s activism in the South China Sea. The Eastern giant would also be willing to ensure investments capable of generating 700,000 U.S. jobs and greater opportunities for certain sectors, such as agriculture and automotive. A ''tweetable'' gift for the U.S. president who, in return, is expected to waive the imposition of a 45% tariff on Chinese imports, which was promised during his election campaign. Trump and Xi’s 24 hours together will continue today with ''an extensive bilateral'', according to reports from the White House, and a working lunch.