Tuesday 26 September 2017

China's Xi Jinping to meet Donald Trump in Florida

Xi Jinping will meet Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, the same Florida resort where the US president hosted Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in February (AP)
Xi Jinping will meet Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, the same Florida resort where the US president hosted Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in February (AP)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US counterpart Donald Trump will meet for the first time on April 6-7 at the latter's Florida resort, China's foreign ministry has said.

The future relationship between the world's top two economies has been uncertain following the election of Mr Trump, who accused China during his campaign of unfair trade practices and threatened to raise import taxes on Chinese goods and declare Beijing a currency manipulator.

It is unclear whether Mr Trump will follow through with either threat.

He is now seeking Beijing's help in pressuring North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missiles programmes.

China is the North's most important source of diplomatic support and economic assistance.

In February, Mr Trump reaffirmed Washington's long-standing "One China" policy in a call with Mr Xi, in an apparent move to ease concerns in China that he might use Taiwan as leverage in negotiations over trade, security and other sensitive issues.

The policy in place since 1979 requires Washington to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that Mr Xi would meet Mr Trump at Mar-a-Lago, without providing any more details.

It is the same Florida resort where Mr Trump hosted and played golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February.

Before arriving in the US, Mr Xi will pay a state visit to Finland from April 4-6, Mr Lu said.

Relations between China and the US under President Barack Obama were strained by issues including China's island-building in waters that straddle the international shipping lanes in the South China Sea, allegations of cyber hacking and a US policy rebalance to Asia.

One bright spot touted by both sides was their co-operation, as the world's top emitters of greenhouse gases, on tackling climate change.

Mr Lu said China would stick to its climate commitments after Mr Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, this week rescinded measures enacted by Mr Obama to reduce coal and oil use.

AP

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