‘Not healthy friends’: Trump, Xi will be ‘odd couple’ during initial summit


WASHINGTON/BEIJING When U.S. President Donald Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, their limit will be noted not customarily by low process groups though a strife of personalities between America’s ardent “tweeter-in-chief” and Beijing’s cautious, calculating leader.

They competence have one thing in common: their tongue about restoring their nations to greatness. But a dual group differ in roughly each other respect, from their domestic styles to their tactful experience, adding doubt to what has been called a world’s many critical common relationship.

Five months after his choosing on a stridently anti-China platform, Trump appears to have set himself on a march for collision rather than conciliation with Xi, lifting doubts as to either a world’s dual biggest economies can find common ground.

Topping a bulletin during Trump’s Mar-a-Lago review in Florida will be either he will make good on his hazard to use essential U.S.-China trade ties to vigour Beijing to do some-more to rein in a nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea, that is operative to develop missiles means of attack a United States.

Trump, a 70-year-old former genuine estate lord with no unfamiliar process knowledge before entering a White House, has tweeted that it will be a “very difficult” assembly with a maestro Communist Party personality 7 years his junior, given Chinese trade practices he says are murdering U.S. jobs.

He has also demanded that Beijing do some-more to “solve” a North Korean problem – his biggest inhabitant confidence plea – or he will act alone to understanding with Pyongyang’s chief and barb programs.

Some White House aides trust Trump’s son-in-law and comparison confidant Jared Kushner could be an successful moderating voice on how he handles Xi in their talks on Thursday and Friday. Contacts between Kushner and China’s U.S. attach� helped well-spoken a proceed for a meeting, according to stream and former U.S. officials.

Even so, what worries a protocol-conscious Chinese some-more than process clashes is a risk that a indeterminate Trump could publicly confuse Xi, after several unfamiliar leaders gifted ungainly moments with a new U.S. president.

“Ensuring President Xi does not remove face is a tip priority for China,” a Chinese central said.

U.S. presidents’ meetings with their Chinese counterparts are customarily some-more firmly scripted than with other unfamiliar leaders, something Chinese officials insist on to make certain they are treated with a culture they trust befits a tellurian power.

This limit should offer a investigate in contrasts: Trump impatient, outspoken and disposed to indignant tweet-storms; Xi, presumably ease and measured, with no famous amicable media presence.

Their common jingoist tendencies could irritate attrition between their countries, that are increasingly tellurian rivals.

Trump insists a United States has been cheated economically for decades by countries like China and contingency recover a luster, while Xi wants China, once an ancient empire, to be means to flex a muscles on a universe stage.

“Xi and Trump are not healthy friends,” pronounced a former comparison U.S. central specializing in Asia. “The doubt is when Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ hits Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’, what’s a result?”


It stays misleading how distant Trump will go in translating populist tongue into process that stairs adult vigour on China, given a risk of a trade quarrel conjunction nation can afford.

But aides contend he won’t lift his punches, generally on trade, on that he has reason an outspoken perspective for decades.

This adds to doubts as to either a dual leaders can find common belligerent on North Korea and China’s expanded claims in a South China Sea.

Some analysts doubt either Trump can get a improved of Xi, who was innate into a life of politics and has a repute for being a tough tactician.

“Xi’s achieved flattering good in these forms of environments,” pronounced Christopher Johnson, a China consultant and former CIA researcher during Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.

While Trump has been in bureau small some-more than 10 weeks, Xi has honed his U.S. plan given presumption a Chinese leadership in 2013.

The son of a insubordinate leader, Xi has sought to plan a picture internationally of a clever disciple of globalization during a time when Trump has stoked fears of U.S. protectionism.

Still, Chinese officials are aware of a pitfalls if Trump veers off-script.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe found himself in a long, worried handshake during a White House in February, and Trump seemed to omit German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s offer of a handshake during their assembly final month.

An hostile call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull caused sold regard in Beijing, officials there say.

Still, a preference to reason a limit so early in Trump’s presidency suggests both Washington and Beijing see a value of perplexing to build a personal attribute between a dual leaders.

Trump goes into a assembly with poignant gaps in his team of Asia advisers and his China process still not entirely formulated.

Hardliners like trade confidant Peter Navarro, who authored a book “Death by China,” have feuded over a administration’s proceed to China with some-more useful aides such as mercantile confidant Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, stream and former U.S. officials say.

Administration officials disagree Trump can use his “Art of a Deal” sales techniques to remonstrate Xi that China needs a United States some-more than a United States needs China, generally when it comes to marketplace access.

But analysts contend a Chinese are intelligent adequate during geopolitics to deflect off U.S. demands. Xi competence also see Trump politically enervated by his high-profile legislative disaster on medical as good as his low open capitulation ratings.

Trump has already corroborated down on China’s many supportive emanate – Taiwan – carrying initial murderous Beijing by suggesting he competence not reside by Washington’s long-standing “one China” policy. Trump competence now feel he is due a preference in return.

A fence-mending phone call in Feb was organised by Kushner and China’s U.S. ambassador, Cui Tiankai, officials say, after Cui invited Trump’s daughter Ivanka to a Chinese Embassy’s Lunar New Year reception, where her daughter sang in Mandarin.

Both sides are gripping expectations low for discernible outcomes from a summit, billed as spontaneous “get to know you” meetings identical to a 2013 Sunnylands limit in California between Xi and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

And whatever else, distinct Abe’s Feb revisit to Mar-a-Lago, there will be no golf diplomacy: China’s Communist Party associates golf with untrustworthy exchange and has sought to stop officials from personification it as partial of Xi’s quarrel opposite corruption.

(Additional stating by Michael Martina in Beijing and Steve Holland in Washington, Editing by Ross Colvin)


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