Despite the apparent anti-China rhetoric prevalent throughout Trump’s campaign, his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, forecast the fostering of a seemingly positive relationship between China and the United States going forward.
The meeting was overshadowed by the recent airstrikes on Syria, made apparent when President Trump ignored several questions from the press pool about North Korea and Syria while accompanying President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at dinner. The President’s withholding from answering questions about such a politically pertinent issue is representative of his degree of respect and value for harboring a relationship with the Chinese President.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, renowned singer, and professor in China arrived at the lavish resort-like Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida around 5 PM. They were greeted by the President and First Lady, then welcomed to the somewhat unorthodox meeting venue. The venue decision may be attributed to the intention of making the meeting more informal and friendly to help Trump and Jinping develop a working relationship.
While the two presidents were discussing political and diplomatic matters, First Lady Melania Trump and Madame Peng visited the Bak Middle School of the Arts, a public fine-arts school. They sat in on various classes, watching the students perform several renditions of songs, including “Astonishing” – a song about women in power and empowering women. Mrs. Trump and Madame Peng didn’t speak much during the classes, other than approaching and conversing with the students, but they did talk to one another on the way to the different classes. At the end of the visit, the students asked Madame Peng about her history and work with arts, and she responded with words of encouragement, prioritizing integrity and honesty.
Trump had intended to bring up points of contention among the two countries at this meeting, particularly with regards to relations with North Korea and China’s trade practices. In describing the meeting, Trump said:
“…We had a long discussion already. So far, I have gotten nothing. Absolutely nothing. But we have developed a friendship. I can see that. I think, long-term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it.”
Such feelings appear to have been reciprocated by the Chinese president, who, according to a rough, partial, and paraphrased translation, said the following of his meeting with Trump:
“This meeting was very unique… it has an especially important meaning for the future development of China US relations… President Trump has made excellent preparations and warmly welcomed us… we have had lengthy and deep communication.”
This meeting was of great diplomatic and political importance for both China and the United States, and President Trump’s behavior throughout sets a positive precedent for his approaches to developing relationships with other world leaders. It’s relieving to see the President act in a manner that is neither unpredictable nor hostile, which appeared to be a pattern through his campaign. The developing friendship between The First Lady and Madame Peng is also fairly important, as it is a great movement forward for “First Lady Diplomacy”. Hopefully, the development of mutually respectful and positive relationships among Trump and other world leaders will aid in political and diplomatic negotiations.