First Trump-Xi meeting gets off to a cordial start

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday.
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

PALM BEACH (Florida) • The much anticipated first meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his United States counterpart Donald Trump got off to a cordial start, but was overshadowed by an air strike on Syria Mr Trump ordered.

Mr Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan joined Mr Trump and his wife Melania at a long table in a candlelit private dining room at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday.

Mr Trump said he and Mr Xi "have developed a friendship" and were "going to have a very, very great relationship". Mr Xi, in turn, told Mr Trump that China has "a thousand reasons to get China-US relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-US relationship", and called on Mr Trump to cooperate with China on trade and investment. Mr Trump was yesterday expected to press Mr Xi on trade issues and North Korea.

The US attack on Syria in retaliation for Damascus' apparent chemical attack on civilians suggests that Mr Trump might carry through with his threat of taking unilateral action against Pyongyang , analysts say.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'First Trump-Xi meeting gets off to a cordial start'. Print Edition | Subscribe