Mandarin Diplomacy: Trump to receive Chinese president at his Mar-a-Lago resort
US President Donald Trump plans to receive his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this April at his Mar-a-Lago hotel complex in Florida, media reported Monday, as his administration seeks to smooth relations with the world's second-largest economy.
US President Donald Trump plans to receive his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this April at his Mar-a-Lago hotel complex in Florida, the online news service Axios reported Monday.
Though they won't play golf, as he did with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump wants to use the club, property of the Trump Organization, to establish a closer relationship with the Chinese president in their first meeting.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer did not wish to confirm Monday reports in the media that the two presidents will meet on April 6-7, but acknowledged that "planning is ongoing for a visit between President Trump and President Xi at a date to be determined."
The meeting will help to lower tensions with regard to North Korea and over the recent deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea, Spicer said.
Seoul and Washington said they need the THAAD system to defend themselves from North Korea, but China and Russia consider the shield a threat to their security, since they believe it could be used to gather intelligence data from their military bases.
Spicer recalled that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will begin Wednesday his visits to Japan, China and South Korea, and that his visit to Beijing could serve to pave the way for Trump's meeting with Xi.
According to Axios, which provided no sources, the meeting will focus on work sessions, with special emphasis on the more thorny issues like trade and defense.
The choice of Mar-a-Lago, a hotel on the shore of West Palm Beach, Florida, would indicate that Trump wants to be on more friendly terms with China after being somewhat antagonistic to Beijing during the first days of his presidency.
Washington could seek Chinese cooperation on such matters as North Korea's missile tests and nuclear provocations, as well as to ease tensions in the South China Sea over territorial disputes with its regional neighbors.
In the two leaders' last phone conversation in February, Trump assured Xi of his commitment to maintaining the "One China" policy adopted by then-President Jimmy Carter in 1979, when he broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
That assurance was seen as an attempt to patch up relations with Beijing after Trump said he saw no reason the US had to be "bound by the 'One China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things," such as trade.