- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2017

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping emerged from their first face-to-face meeting Friday with informal agreements to improve trade balance between their two countries and work together to “denuclearize” the Korean peninsula, according to top U.S. officials.

Mr. Trump also accepted Mr. Xi’s invitation to visit China later this year and efforts were underway to set a date for the visit, said officials.

The meetings at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, included a dinner Thursday, bilateral meetings Friday morning and a working lunch to cap the summit Friday afternoon.

“Both the atmosphere [and] the chemistry between the two leaders was positive,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at the club when the summit concluded.

“The posture between the two really set the tone for our subsequent meetings between our high-level delegations. And I would tell you the exchanges were very frank. They were candid, they were open, and they were very positive,” he said. “So I think all of us are feeling very good about the results of this summit in terms of what it did for setting a very constructive tone going forward.”

Trade and the threat of nuclear-armed North Korea were top issues for Mr. Trump at the summit.

Mr. Tillerson said the issue of human rights in China, a potential point of contention between the two leaders, was “embedded” in the discussions of economic and military cooperation.

Regarding North Korea, Mr. Xi shared the view that the country’s nuclear capabilities had reached “a very serious stage,” said Mr. Tillerson.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the two sides agreed to a 100-day action plan on trade that included “way stations of accomplishment.”

“Given the range of issues and the magnitude, that may be ambitious, but it’s a very big sea change in the pace of discussion,” Mr. Ross told reporters. “And I think that’s a very very important symbolization of the growing rapport between the two countries.”

The high-stakes talks coincided with Mr. Trump ordering missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for President Bashar Assad’s deadly chemical weapon attack on his own people. The strikes were launched Thursday night as Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi dined at the club.

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