Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach for a little over 24 hours this Thursday and Friday.
The two leaders, who have never met before, are scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon into that night, and then resume their talks until after lunch Friday. Both wives, Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan, will accompany them on the trip.
White House officials who briefed reporters on background Tuesday billed the summit as an opportunity for the two men to exchange views on each other’s respective priorities and to chart a way forward for the bilateral relationship between the United States and China.
“President Trump really views this meeting as a first step towards building a constructive and results-oriented relationship that’s going to deliver benefits to both countries,” the official said.
There will be “significant trade and economic issues” to discuss, another noted, because together the United States and China represent 40 percent of the global economy.
“President Trump is very concerned about the imbalance in our economic relationship and how it affects American workers and wants to address these issues in a candid and productive manner.”
The officials said Trump will press Jinping on taking a tougher stance toward the nuclear program in North Korea.
“North Korea is clearly a matter of urgent interest for the president,” the officials said. “The president has been clear in messaging on how important it is for China to coordinate with the United States, and for China to begin exerting its considerable economic leverage to bring about a peaceful resolution to that problem.”
“Certainly it is going to come up in their discussions.”
The officials later added, “We would like to work on Northa Korea together. There is an opportunity, and in some ways we have been left after 20-some odd years of trying pretty much everything to bring about a safe and denuclearized peninsula, and so this is, in some ways, a test of the relationship.”
“It is now urgent. We feel that the clock is very, very quickly running out. Again, we would have loved to see North Korea join the community of nations — they have been given that opportunity of the course of different dialogues and offers — but the clock has now run out and all options are on the table for us.”
The officials also said the president is expected to raise the issue of Chinese development in the South China Sea.
“The United States certainly will continue to fly and sail where international law allows,” one official said.
The officials, who said there will be no golfing, clarified that Trump was the one who suggested Mar-a-Lago.
“It’s a place where he feels comfortable and at home and a place where he can break the ice with Jinping without the formality of a Washington meet up.”