The much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida this week will be candid, constructive, and business-like, a US official said today.
The much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida this week will be candid, constructive, and business-like, a US official said today. “The conversations, of course, between the presidents and among our Cabinet officials will be candid and constructive and business-like,” Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton told reporters. “We hope to identify some priorities to focus on going forward and discuss the full range of important issues that come up in our bilateral relationship, but also global challenges around the world,” Thornton said during a conference call today.
Xi and Trump are scheduled to have a series of meetings at the latter’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, which is now being called the Southern White House. While the two leaders have spoken a few times, this is the first meeting between them during which officials hope they would be able to establish a personal rapport. “The two Presidents want to get to know one another. This will be their first meeting. They want to build up the type of personal rapport and working relationship that we’ll be able to count on in times of opportunity, but also in times of crisis. We’ll hope that we don’t have any crises, but we need to have that relationship in that event,” Thornton said.
The meeting comes in the aftermath of the recent Beijing trip of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which laid the ground work of the US-China summit. “We will be looking forward to this meeting coming up in Florida. We’re looking to identify areas where we can come up with concrete outcomes and benefits for the American people. We’re going to address some common challenges. And I’m sure you’re going to be asking me about some of those,” she said.
The Trump administration is going to be identifying the American priority on continuing to uphold the rules-based international system and to abide by international and universal norms and values.
“We have a relationship with the Chinese that is based on cooperation and candour. I’m sure that the meetings will reflect that spirit,” she noted. She noted that it has been a tradition in US-China relations that the high-level engagements are a very important part of the communication between the two countries. “I think we will continue to have high-level engagements in the months and years ahead,” she added. Thornton acknowledged that North Korea would come up prominently in the meeting. “It’s an issue that I think we feel has become very urgent,” she said, adding that North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme poses a global threat.
While climate change is unlikely to come up for discussion in detail, human rights issues would be raised during the meeting. “The question of human rights, will of course be raised in the context of this US-China summit. It can’t help but come up,” the State Department official said.