Preparations for Xi-Trump Meeting Have Started

| Mar 22, 2017 09:01 AM EDT

Tillerson to Xi: Trump looks forward to summit meeting with China.

After U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that preparations for a Xi-Trump meeting have started.

Tillerson was on his first trip to Asia as the Secretary of State. On Sunday, his visit ended with warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both China and the U.S. have come to an agreement to work together on North Korea and to set aside trickier issues.

The two countries seem to have made some advance or put aside differences on difficult issues, at least prior the planned summit between the two leaders. The said meeting could happen next month in the U.S.

"On this visit to China by Secretary of State Tillerson, both sides had a deep discussion on arranging a meeting soon between the two heads of state and began relevant preparatory work," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

"Both sides agreed to remain in close touch about this, to ensure the smooth success and fruitfulness of exchanges between the heads of state and in other areas," she added, without further details or dates.

A week earlier, Axios, a U.S. online media outlet, reported that the two-day summit would be held on April 6-7 at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. CNN also reported the planned meeting, quoting an unnamed administration official.

The White House was setting up a meeting between Xi and Trump and was not yet prepared to give a date, said Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The meeting would include North Korea and other issues.

"Planning is ongoing for a visit between President Trump and President Xi at a date to be determined," Spicer said earlier, adding that the meeting would include issues on North Korea.

Trump, during his campaign, accused China of unfair trade policies and of doing so little to stop North Korea. He also criticized China’s claim over South China Sea territories. He further angered China by talking with Taiwan, saying that the U.S. is not obliged to follow the “One China” policy.

Trump has recently been in contact with Xi through telephone and exchange of messages, aiming to ease the tensions he has made with his comments.

The summit would go along with the series of U.S.-China meetings which have been held recently, with the goal of repairing the ties between the countries.

Both countries are preparing for the anticipated Xi-Trump meeting, hoping to strengthen China-U.S. ties.

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