Beijing confirmed on Thursday that President Xi Jinping will meet with his US counterpart next week in Florida, marking their first meeting since Donald Trump took office in January.
Xi will pay a state visit to Finland from Tuesday through Thursday and then meet with Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Thursday and Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news briefing. The resort is owned by Trump.
Xi and Trump have spoken to each other twice by phone.
Their first meeting was announced amid media attention on the trade relations between the world’s two largest economies. China and the US are each other’s largest trading partners.
On China-US trade issues, Lu said Beijing is ready to “expand pragmatic cooperation in economic and trade areas, properly tackle economic and trade frictions through dialogue and communication and ensure the healthy, stable development of China-US economic and trade ties”.
Lu referred to the fact that the bilateral commodity trade volume reached $519.6 billion last year, more than 200 times the figure in 1979, when the two countries forged diplomatic ties.
Lu said the economic and trade ties between China and the US are a win-win situation and the countries’ interests are highly integrated.
Chen Mingming, a veteran Chinese diplomat, said Xi’s meeting with Trump will be a major diplomatic move taken by Beijing and will “kick off a good start for the ties in the next few years”.
“The meeting was made within three months after Trump took office on Jan 20, showing that both leaders prioritize having a face-to-face talk,” Chen said. “This helps them better know each other and reaffirm pledges for deepening bilateral ties.”
Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said China and the US can expand interests and focus on cooperation, as they are both permanent members of the UN Security Council.
“They both benefit from and uphold the existing international order, and shoulder important and unique responsibilities for regional and international peace, security and prosperity,” Su said.
On Xi’s state visit to Finland, spokesman Lu said it will be Xi’s first to a European Union country this year as well as Xi’s first visit to northern Europe as China’s top leader. It demonstrates the great importance China attaches to building a forward-looking partnership with Finland, Lu said.