Trump-Xi Jinping in Florida: dialogue put to the test

Trump-Xi Jinping in Florida: dialogue put to the test

Rita Lofano
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The long-awaited summit between the two leaders is scheduled to take place in Florida on April 6 and 7. The atmosphere appears more subdued, but "urgent" issues feature on the agenda, starting with the threats of North Korea. Also on the table are the disputed South China Sea and the Paris climate agreement
On the eve of the #summit between #Trump and #Xi Jinping who represent 40% of the global economy, the atmosphere is more subdued

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly attacked China, promising to denounce it as a "currency manipulator from day one", that he would like to offer his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, a hamburger during their first meeting and ensure that he would punish the offending country from "stealing" jobs from the Americans. On the eve of the long-awaited summit between the two leaders "who together represent 40% of the global economy", as emphasized by the White House during a conference call on the imminent visit, scheduled in Florida on Thursday and Friday this week, the atmosphere appears substantially more subdued, even though the agenda features "urgent" issues, starting with the threats of North Korea, which today launched a new ballistic missile. "Time is running out and all the options remain on the table", reiterated the White House during the call. "Beijing will be asked to use its economic leverage to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. China has a great influence over North Korea and will be able to decide whether or not to help us. If it decides to do so, it will be good for China. Otherwise, it will not be good for anyone", it was stressed, echoing the words of Trump who, in an interview with the Financial Times, warned: "We will act alone if Beijing will not help us".

The agenda features several "urgent" issues, starting primarily with the threats of North Korea, which has launched a new ballistic missile

Exchange of views regarding priorities

The options under consideration by the U.S. administration include economic sanctions, even against Chinese entities that do business with North Korea, cyberattacks and military action. In Florida, the American President will have the advantage of playing at home. "It was Trump who proposed to meet Xi in Florida", it was explained, at the luxury resort of Mar-a-Lago the billionaire’s own "Winter White House", "where he feels most at ease and where it is easier for him to break the ice without the formalities of Washington". The 24 hours that Trump and Xi will spend together, accompanied by their first ladies, former model Melania Trump and former singer and actress Peng Liyuan, respectively, will provide an opportunity for an exchange of views regarding priorities, paving the way for future bilateral relations. "It is a first step towards a constructive, results-oriented relationship", claimed the White House, specifying that there is no predefined agenda for the discussion. "The issues were not written in advance", it was stressed. On the table, in addition to North Korea, "are economic and commercial issues. What concerns the American President are the imbalances that affect workers", clarified the White House, stressing the need for a truly competitive market. It has not been ruled out that they will also discuss exchange rate impairments, the South China Sea dispute or the Paris climate agreement but without "reaching definitive conclusions. We do not want to be unrealistic", it was pointed out. Trump has threatened import tariffs of 35% on Chinese products and the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris international agreement on the fight against climate change. "The summit in Florida will rather serve to outline a framework for a greater dialogue than that between Beijing and the previous administration", it was alleged, ensuring the commitment of the United States to recognizing "one China". Trump, following the election, had a shock discussion with president of "rebel" Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, raising the anger of Beijing. "There will be no surprises on that front", confirmed the White House. The other certainty "is that they will not play golf," it was stated, "it will not be a formal meeting but it will have nothing to do with golf".

It has not been ruled out that they will also discuss exchange rate impairments, the South China Sea dispute or the Paris agreement on climate change, but without "reaching definitive conclusions"