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Xi Jinping leaves for his first summit with Trump

Tuesday, Apr 4, 2017,17:21 IST By anju A A A

Beijing | Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday left for Finland from where he would travel to the US for his first summit with US President Donald Trump during which the two leaders are expected to discuss a range of global issues, including North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Xi will hold talks with President of Finland Sauli Niinisto during his visit to Helsinki and will meet Trump on April 6 at his luxurious home in Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

Ahead of the key summit, Chinese and US officials held talks to ensure that the first summit is a complete success amid tough assertions by Trump that Washington will act alone if Beijing failed to take a tougher stand against North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

In his telephone talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday, Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi said that the upcoming meeting between the Presidents mattered a lot to the development of China-US relations.

The meeting to be held on April 6-7 bears a great significance to the development of China-US relations in the new era, as well as to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole, Yang said.

“We hope both sides can make efforts in the same direction to ensure the summit between the two leaders is a complete success,” Yang said.

Tillerson said the US will exert all efforts to prepare for the meeting and is willing to work with the Chinese side to make sure that it can produce positive results.

Their talks took place after Trump delivered tough messages ahead of his meeting with Xi over North Korea.

Trump said in an interview with the ‘Financial Times’ that the US was prepared to act alone if China did not take a tougher stand against North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

“Yes, we will talk about North Korea. And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone,” Trump was quoted as saying.

Trump tweeted last week that the meeting would be “very difficult” due to trade issues with China.

Xi’s entourage includes his wife Peng Liyuan and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

After initial apprehensions over Trump’s victory specially after his high decibel anti-China rhetoric, officials say Beijing feels confident to handle the “Twitter President” after he quietly gave up his tough talk earlier to negotiate on ‘One China’ policy, a no-go area for Chinese diplomacy as Beijing insists that Taiwan is a part of its mainland.