United States President Donald Trump will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time on April 6-7 at Trump's Florida resort, China's Foreign Ministry announced, amid a range of pressing issues including trade, North Korea and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Trump predicted a very difficult meeting in a tweet just hours after both governments announced the summit. He wrote in part: We can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives.
China's immediate response to Trump's tweet was diplomatic, with Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang telling reporters that both sides look forward to a successful meeting so that a correct direction can be set for the growth of bilateral relations.
China will continue to work with the United States to think creatively and keeping pushing for greater balance in China-U.S. trade, Zheng said.
The relationship between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economies has been uncertain following the election of 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 Trump will follow through with either threat. He is now seeking Beijing's help in pressuring North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missiles programs. China is North Korea's most important source of diplomatic support and economic assistance.
In February, Trump reaffirmed Washington's long-standing one China policy in a call with 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.
A statement from the White House said the two leaders will discuss global, regional and bilateral issues of mutual concern. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan at a dinner on Thursday evening, it added.