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Saturday, April 1, 2017, 17:20

Xi, Trump to 'map out' Sino-US ties

By Zhang Yunbi

Their first meeting seen as greatly significant for stability, prosperity

Xi, Trump to 'map out' Sino-US ties
This combination of pictures created on March 30, 2017 shows China's President Xi Jinping (left) delivering a speech on the opening day of the World Economic Forum, on Jan 17, 2017 in Davos, and US President Donald Trump announcing the final approval of the XL Pipline in the Oval Office of the White House on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN, FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump "will chart the course and map out plans" for bilateral ties at their first meeting next week, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Friday.

The two leaders, who have already talked twice on the phone , will meet for the first time at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on Thursday and Friday.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, will also attend a welcome banquet to be hosted by Trump and his wife, Melania, Vice-Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang told a media briefing.

During their meeting, the two leaders are expected to have an in-depth exchange of views on China-US ties and major international and regional issues of common concern, Zheng said.

READ MORE: Xi, Trump agree to boost win-win cooperation

We wouldn't be having this summit if the two sides didn't want it to go well

Stapleton Roy, US ambassador to China

The meeting is of great significance for the healthy and stable development of the ties as well as peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world, Zheng added.

Former US ambassador to China Stapleton Roy said on Friday that the meeting will "go well" and both sides will strive for a positive outcome from the meeting.

"I think both leaders recognize they are dealing with probably the most important country from each side's standpoint. Therefore, if things go wrong, it has very serious potential consequences," Roy said at an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

READ MORE: Trump advisor: China, US have common cause

"We wouldn't be having this summit if the two sides didn't want it to go well. I don't see it that difficult to have it go reasonably well," Roy added.

Roy said it is very important for Xi and Trump to discuss both the issues where the two countries have common interest, and the areas where the two sides have differences, adding that "it needs to be done in a respectful fashion."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing on Thursday that Trump "looks forward to meeting with President Xi and exchanging views on each other’s respective priorities, and to chart a way forward on a bilateral relationship", Xinhua reported.

Spicer also said the meeting will be an opportunity for Trump "to develop a relationship in person with President Xi".

The two-way trade relations have attracted great media attention as Washington has complained about its trade deficit with China.

When asked about the trade issue, Zheng said bilateral trade "has brought tangible, huge benefits" for both sides.

The trade imbalance should be seen in a comprehensive and objective manner, since China has a surplus in commodity trade but a deficit in service trade with the US, Zheng said.

China "does not seek a trade surplus with the US", he added.

About 40 percent of China’s trade surplus with the US stems from US businesses operating in China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news conference on Friday.

A proper settlement of the issue requires bilateral consultation, and China is looking at the potential between the two countries, Lu said.

Su Xiaohui, a researcher on international strategy studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said China and the US have shown a strong need for each other in recent years.

Before his US trip, Xi will make a state visit to Finland from Tuesday to Thursday, which will be Xi’s first visit to northern Europe as president.

Wang Chao, vice-foreign minister, said Xi will hold talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and attend a ceremony for the signing of cooperative documents, a joint news conference and a welcome banquet.

(With Xinhua input)

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