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Hopes raised for Xi, Trump talks

By Zhao Huanxin in Florida and Zhang Yunbi in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-07 04:27

Identifying common interests, handling differences are key goals

As President Xi Jinping arrived in South Florida on Thursday for his first meeting with US counterpart Donald Trump, senior think tank researchers in both countries anticipated reinforcement of their mutual understanding and other positive outcomes.

The meeting between the heads of state of the world's top two economies is scheduled at the Mar-a-Lago resort in the wealthy island town of Palm Beach on Thursday and Friday, following Xi's state visit to Finland, which started on Tuesday.

The meeting has bolstered hopes for smooth development of China-US political and economic interactions as China has become the fastest-growing export market outside North America for the United States. The two nations' trade in commodities reached $519.6 billion last year.

Stapleton Roy, a former US ambassador to China, said the meeting can deal with substantive issues and also help establish a personal relationship that will be helpful when differences emerge.

Roy, a well-known China hand in the US, told a panel in Washington earlier, "My guess is that they would both be trying for a positive outcome."

Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the meeting will see the two leaders "make top-level designs for the ties between the two major countries", search for more common interests and chart a course for bilateral ties.

"Setting the direction will be paramount to both the China-US relationship and peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region," Su said.

Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations, said potential agenda items include reaffirmation of the one-China policy, the Korean Peninsula situation and trade issues.

The US needs to cooperate by not closing the US market from global trade, and Trump's aim to rebuild US infrastructure is an area where China could help, Orlins said.

Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center, said: "The more Trump and Xi meet, the better.

"If the two sides are able to simply signal to each other their desire to have a constructive relationship in the face of competitive pressures, and they can get off the first step successfully, that's enough."

Stanley Roth, former US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, said: "My experience is that the first visits tend to be much more genteel. They'll try to build the relationship between the two leaders."

Su Xiaohui, a researcher on international strategy at the China Institute of International Studies, predicted that the Trump administration will not totally do away with bilateral communication channels established by the past US administration, and that it will also come up with new ways to stay in touch with the Chinese leadership.

"It is quite natural to see differing views exist between the countries. The key is to exercise effective control and management of them," Su added.

Amy He in New York contributed to this story. Contact the writers at

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