'Only time will tell' on improving US-China trade

After repeatedly bashing China on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping for the first time last week at Trump's Florida estate. "That's one of the things we are going to be talking about".

It wasn't supposed to be like that.

"Tremendous goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade".

Entering the meeting Mr Trump said the two biggest issues were trade and North Korea, arguing that "China will be stepping up" on pressing its neighbour to stop its missile program.

From the beginning, China felt it had the situation under control.

"If we judge that they have perfected that type of delivery system, then that becomes a very serious stage of their further development", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday on ABC's "This Week".

Xi reciprocated Trump's warm words, saying the summit had "uniquely important significance" and thanking Trump for a warm reception.

On the domestic political front, Xi is preparing for a party congress that could cement his grip on power for years to come, and needs to show he can deal with the USA leader as an equal.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) is getting a quick view of America's Last Frontier.

"This is probably not a welcome development" for Xi and the Chinese "in terms of optics", said Paul Haenle, a USA diplomat who advised George W. Bush and Barack Obama on China policy.

The US said United States-China Comprehensive Dialogue will be overseen by the two presidents and have four pillars: the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue; the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue; the Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue; and the Social and Cultural Issues Dialogue. If China decides to help, that would be great.

Many speculated that China would offer concessions up front. Instead, the Chinese came empty-handed.

Trump told Xi the U.S. would "chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us", Tillerson said. So far, I have gotten nothing.

Meanwhile, he suggested that the two sides carry out the annual exchange programs they have agreed upon, and implement and improve the mutual reporting mechanism on major military operations and the code of safe conduct on naval and air military encounters. It will distract from coverage of the summit in US media.

"There are still some potential risks over the South China Sea and trade issues, and I do hope the two governments can handle these issues properly", said Du, referencing China's increasingly robust assertions of its territorial claim to virtually the entire strategic waterway in which the US navy has long operated. So the can was kicked down the road, for now.

The Trump administration is reviewing its policy toward North Korea and has said all options are on the table, including military strikes. If so, it had no discernible impact.

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North Korea's formal name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Experts say China, which along with Russian Federation has repeatedly blocked United Nations resolutions against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, will have been both discombobulated and upset at how Trump's air strikes overshadowed the summit.

But for some of Trump's supporters, ideological elasticity is a virtue for a president who took office with no practical foreign policy experience. So the summit's one concrete deliverable was a Chinese proposal accepted by the United States. Of course, China's success in maintaining the relationship doesn't spell a US defeat.

"This coordinated initiative could force North Korea to make real demilitarization concessions, while providing a win for both China and the United States", Markey wrote, adding that China has unsuccessfully urged the USA to engage North Korea directly for years. China refused, even though there was no love lost between Beijing and Hanoi.

But China has reportedly told the United States and Korea that they need to address North Korea's "security concerns" and sanctions are not enough to achieve denuclearisation.

Now that it has Mr. Trump's attention, China wants to be sure that it keeps it, knowing his notoriously short attention span.

Trump also noted the importance of protecting human rights, and asked China to adhere to worldwide norms in the seas of East Asia.

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