The official China Daily newspaper said it was encouraging to see the two-day summit that ended on Friday “going as well as it could,” after earlier “confusing signals” from Washington about how it was approaching the US-China relationship, Reuters reported.
Trump had campaigned with strident anti-China rhetoric and had angered Beijing before taking office by talking to the president of Taiwan.
Under the ‘One China’ policy, the self-ruled Taiwan is considered part of Chinese territory. The US has been committed to that policy since 1979, when it cut official ties with Taipei and recognized Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.
But the two sides avoided any diplomatic gaffes at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that would have tarnished the meeting in the eyes of the protocol-conscious Chinese.
China Daily said both parties appeared “equally enthusiastic about the constructive relationship they have promised to cultivate.”
“This may sound surreal to those preoccupied with an ‘inescapable’ conflict scenario between what they see as rising and incumbent powers,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial.
“But that Beijing and Washington have so far managed to do well in preventing conflicts shows confrontation is not inevitable.”
The state-run Chinese tabloid Global Times said the meeting “served as an indicator that the China-US relationship is still very much on course since the Trump administration took office in January,” and it was likely the two nations would develop a more “pragmatic relationship.”
In an outcome likely to play well in China, the state news agency Xinhua said that the US and Chinese officials initiated new dialogue mechanisms on economic issues, as well as security and diplomatic issues, in what appeared to be a reimagining of the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue held under President Barack Obama.
Trump drops China bashing
Trump ditched his trademark anti-China bombast, hailing an “outstanding” relationship with counterpart Xi Jinping at the end of a superpower summit on Friday.
“We have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China,” Trump said effusively at the close of a high-stakes but studiously familiar first meeting between the pair at his resort in Florida, AFP reported.
“I think truly progress has been made,” Trump said, declaring his relationship with Xi as “outstanding.”
The friendly tone was a far cry from Trump’s acerbic campaign denouncements about China’s seizure of the US economy and his vow to punish Beijing with punitive tariffs.
Xi reciprocated Trump’s warm words, saying the summit had “uniquely important significance” and thanking Trump for a warm reception.
Beijing’s most powerful leader in decades also invited the neophyte US president on a coveted state visit to China later in the year. Trump accepted, with a date yet to be determined.
We “arrived at many common understandings,” Xi added, “the most important being deepening our friendship and building a kind of trust.”
Their comments were echoed by a front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily which said the meeting established the tone for the development of US-China relations, Reuters reported.
There was, however, no mention in the commentaries of the US missile strike on a Syrian airbase, which overshadowed the summit.