Trump, Xi land in Mar-a-Lago separately ahead of summit
PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) — President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here separately Thursday afternoon for their first series of face-to-face meetings, where they are expected to tackle a range of complex issues.
The trade relationship between the two countries and the rising threat of North Korea’s nuclear program will be at the top of the agenda during the high-stakes meetings that will take place Thursday and Friday at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s opulent Florida estate.
But hours before their first encounter, Trump predicted aboard Air Force One that “China will be stepping up” to help the US put a stop to North Korea’s nuclear program. He also pressed forward with his rhetoric that the US has been “treated unfairly” on the trade front.
“We have been treated unfairly and have made terrible deals — trade deals — with China for many, many years — so that’s one of the things we’re going to be talking about. The other thing is North Korea. And somehow we will mix, they really do mix. We’re going to be talking about trade, North Korea and many other things,” Trump said.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the first in Trump’s administration to greet Xi on the tarmac early Thursday afternoon as he landed at Palm Beach International Airport.
Trump landed at the same airport about an hour later and is set to greet Xi at Mar-a-Lago Thursday evening, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The leaders of the two largest economies are slated to spend some private time together before sitting down for dinner in the estate’s formal dining room.
Trump and Xi are also scheduled to sit down together again on Thursday for a working lunch, while first lady Melania Trump and Madame Peng Liyuan visit a local school together.