President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet February 27 and 28 in the coastal city of Da Nang, Vietnam, according to sources familiar with discussions.
The South China Morning Post reported that the two leaders are expected to continue pushing to resolve ongoing trade disputes ahead of a March 1 deadline when the Trump administration plans to implement tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of goods exported by China.
POTUS Trump referenced the upcoming meeting last week when a Chinese trade delegation was in Washington, D.C., meeting with U.S. counterparts for talks. It isn’t clear what, if any, progress was made in those talks, but reports noted that Vice Premier Liu He was expected to invite the U.S. president to meet with China’s leader later this month for a new round of face-to-face talks.
On Friday, POTUS Trump said, “I think the relationship that we have right now with China has never been so advanced. I don’t think it’s ever been better. But I can tell you for a fact that it’s never been so advanced, and certainly a [trade] deal has never been so advanced.”
In addition, the Trump administration is also preparing for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un later this month as well, the SCMP reported. Trump said he would announce the date for that meeting next week, perhaps during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.
When asked on Friday by reporters if he would meet again with Xi in Asia, POTUS responded that he was “thinking about it.”
“There’s a possibility we’ll meet somewhere,” Trump told reporters. “Whether it’s there, I’m over in a certain location I’ll be over in a certain location as you know.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese delegation led by Liu proposed a meeting between POTUS and Xi on the Chinese island of Hainan following the summit with Kim.
Jin Canrong, the associate dean of international studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said China’s leaders would rather have Trump and Xi meet on Chinese soil; China’s relations with Vietnam are dicey even decades after a 1979 border war between the two countries.
“It’s a bilateral issue which has nothing to do with a third country,” Jin said, according to SCMP, “China has made great compromises on trade issues and if Trump does travel to East Asia, it would be ideal if he could drop by in Hainan.”
On Thursday, POTUS Trump hinted that a deal could be in the offing, or that more time would be granted to make one.
“This is going to be a very big deal”, he said, “or it’s going to be a deal that we’ll just postpone for a little.”
During a Friday press conference in the Oval Office, POTUS hinted that the “very big deal” between the U.S. and China may be not finalized by the March 1 deadline.
“We’re talking about theft” of U.S. intellectual property,” we’re talking about every aspect of trade with a country, and we’re talking about fentanyl too,” he said. “As you know, most of the fentanyl which is killing 80,000 Americans a year…comes through China.”
He added that at present the opioid isn’t criminalized in China but that Beijing has agreed to criminalize it.
Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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