Trump receives Xi for Florida summit
Washington: US President Donald Trump has welcomed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a mansion in his private resort in Florida, and their first meeting has begun, a media report said.
Trade and North Korea’s nuclear program were expected to be the major focus at the West Palm Beach mansion, located in Trump’s private resort Mar-a-Lago, Efe news reported.
After arriving at the Palm Beach International Airport, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were greeted by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Around an hour later, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived by the presidential plane Air Force One.
The activities scheduled for the leaders of the world’s two largest economies, which will last about 24 hours, began on Thursday afternoon with tea and dinner receptions.
“It is a great honour to have the President of China and his incredibly talented wife, a great, great celebrity in China, a great singer. It’s an honour to have you in the US,” Trump said minutes before the dinner.
Trump briefly explained to the journalists who accompanied him that he and his counterpart “had a long discussion already”.
“So far, I have gotten nothing. Absolutely nothing. But we have developed a friendship. I can see that. I think, long-term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship, and I look very much forward to it,” Trump added, without giving further details.
The formal part of the summit will be held on Friday with a series of discussions, and will conclude with a working luncheon.
Before leaving for his private club, Trump said on Thursday in Washington that “nobody really knows” what could come out of the summit with Xi.
However, he repeated assertions that China has not been “fair” with the US regarding trade and that North Korea poses “a very big problem.”
“We have not been treated fairly on trade for many, many years. No presidents have taken care of that the way they should have. And we have a big problem with North Korea. We’re going to see what happens,” Trump added in a brief interview with US broadcaster Fox.
Asked if his goal is to get China to put pressure on North Korea, the President said only that “we’re going to see what happens,” adding that he will raise his argument with Xi and thinks it is “going to do very well”.