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White House: Trump-Xi summit in planning stages

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | | Updated: 2017-03-14 13:05

The White House said on Monday that a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is in the works, but it declined to specify the timing and location of the meeting.

Early on Monday, US media reported on a tentative plan that said the two presidents would hold their first summit soon.

"Planning is ongoing for a visit between President Trump and President Xi at a date to be determined," the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a news briefing on Monday afternoon.

"We're not ready to confirm that, and we will have more details. Any meeting between the presidents of the United States and the People's Republic of China would necessarily cover a broad range of topics of mutual concern."

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week that China and the United States have fruitful communication on realizing exchanges between their presidents and at other levels, and expanding all areas of cooperation.

At a news conference during the two sessions, Wang said the China-US relationship is transitioning steadily and developing in a positive direction, due to the intense communication and joint efforts of both sides.

"There is no reason why China and the US could not become excellent partners, as long as we act on the consensus reached by our presidents, follow the principles of no-conflict, no-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation," he said.

Spicer noted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be visiting China, and that "as we go forward we will have additional details on both the timing and the location of that when we go forward".

Tillerson will embark on his first trip to Asia on Wednesday, after taking the job as President Trump's top diplomat about a month ago.

The three-nation tour will bring him to China on March 18, after visiting Japan and South Korea.

Also on Monday, Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Tillerson's trip will, to some extent, be "paving the way" for future high-level meetings between the two presidents.

"As you've seen from the communications between the two presidents themselves, there has been talk about their early meeting," she told the preview meeting.

Thornton said Tillerson will meet Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

She said she expected the discussion will cover the areas of cooperation that "we're looking to continue to pursue, to continue to discuss, and make progress on".

Tillerson will look to set out workplan for the bilateral relationship in the new administration, she said.

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