Beijing: US President Donald Trump arrived here today to hold wide ranging talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on a host of issues, including ramping up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme and trade frictions between the two most powerful economies.
Both countries are also expected to sign trade deals worth billions of dollars during Trump’s three-day visit.
Chinese officials projected the visit as a defining moment in China-US ties as it is taking place in the “new era” of Xi, who commenced his second tenure less than a fortnight ago as the most powerful leader of China after Mao Zedong.
Trump s programme here will start with tea with his Chinese counterpart Xi. Later the two leaders will visit China’s iconic Forbidden City, adjacent to the Tiananmen Square followed by a private dinner.
Trump will be given an extended ceremonial welcome at the Great Hall of the People tomorrow followed by bilateral talks with Xi. Later Trump would also take part in a business event followed by joint media event.
Trump is also scheduled to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and attend a reception followed by state dinner and cultural performance.
The visit will provide opportunities for President Xi and Trump to exchange in-depth views on issues that concern both sides, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a media briefing yesterday.
Since Trump took office in January, the two leaders have maintained close contact. They already have had two face-to- face meetings and eight phone conversations
Trump’s visit marks the first by a head of state to China after last month’s once-in-a-five year Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China, which conferred a second five-year term for Xi.
Xi and Trump spent over seven hours together in April at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in the US state of Florida where the two leaders worked out a 100-day plan to boost economic cooperation.
Ahead of his visit, Trump has said the massive trade deficit in bilateral trade is a shame, and has been putting pressure on China to open the Chinese markets more for US products and firms.
US goods and services trade with China totalled to an estimated USD 648.2 billion in 2016 in which China had a lion’s share with about USD 478.9 billion exports. The US exports to China stood at USD 169.3 billion, according to US trade figures.
Trump is also putting pressure on Xi to press China’s close ally North Korea to give up the nuclear and missile programme which has become a major threat to the US.
Trump yesterday said Xi had been “very helpful” in dealing with the threat posed by nuclear-armed North Korea.
Also expected to figure in Trump-Xi discussion is the US’ new South Asia policy which is piling pressure on Pakistan, China’s all-weather ally, to dismantle terror safe havens.
China is also apprehensive about the US trying to work out a quadrilateral with India, Japan and Australia.
Japan has proposed the four countries to work out a new Silk Road plan to counter China’s ambitious and multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative.
The US has been accusing China of violating international rules and norms by laying claims on the disputed South and East China seas.