Donald Trump to play host to Xi Jinping in high-stakes summit

US President Donald Trump (left) is set to play host to Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida next month.
US President Donald Trump (left) is set to play host to Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida next month.PHOTOS: AFP, EPA

US President Donald Trump is set to play host to Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida next month, in a high- stakes summit that will likely set the tone for a recalibrated relationship between the two powers.

Two sources confirmed to The Straits Times a report on US news website Axios, saying the summit has been scheduled for April 6 to 7.

An advance team from China visited last week.

The sources said it was Beijing's request that the summit be held at Mar-a-Lago, Mr Trump's "Winter White House", where the US President entertained Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month.

US media quoted a senior administration official yesterday as saying that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to finalise plans for the meeting with Chinese officials when he visits Beijing this week, after his visits to Japan and South Korea.

 

The summit is the first face- to-face meeting between the two leaders of the world's biggest economies. They spoke on the phone last month, during which Mr Trump told the Chinese President that he will honour the "one China" policy and not challenge China's claim over Taiwan.

The meeting will be the most closely watched of all of Mr Trump's summits so far.

Two key issues will be trade relations and the North Korean threat. Mr Trump has said in recent weeks that North Korea poses one of the biggest security challenges for him as a president, and he intends to ask China to deal more seriously with Pyongyang, given the former's influence over the rogue state.

The two presidents will also likely discuss territorial disputes in the South China Sea, said CNN.

No golf is planned, however, according to the report in Axios. It will be a working meeting instead, said the website, which cited "officials familiar with the planning".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'Trump to play host to Xi in high-stakes summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe