This week is a golden opportunity to set a new tone for the world's most important bilateral relationship.
This week is a golden opportunity to set a new tone for the world's most important bilateral relationship.

A reassuring sign

China scholar David Shambaugh reminds us that the meeting this week at Mar-a-Lago is a good sign for the US-China relationship in and of itself. We should not forget that China’s president refused to even speak over the phone while Trump was threatening a change to the one China policy. A good meeting this week could stabilize a relationship that has been stressed by a toxic combination of harsh campaign rhetoric and conflicting security interests. A respectful and positive tenor can go a long way, and Trump is known for being affable in person.

China taking the lead?

The Economist profiles the shifting roles of China and the US ahead of the Trump-Xi summit. As China’s economic influence grows, memory is fading of Deng Xiaoping’s advice in 1992 that China “keep a low profile, never take the lead…and make a difference.” That was apparent most recently when Xi asserted that China should “guide economic globalization,” while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The many faces of Jared Kushner

The Financial Times highlights Jared Kushner’s role in leading the preparation for this week’s engagement. A real estate investor and developer by trade, Kushner has been given a wide-ranging portfolio in the White House and will likely be outmatched by his counterpart, the experienced diplomat Cui Tiankai.

We’ve come a long way from Sunnylands

The setting this week in Florida will echo the picturesque images that came out of Xi’s first US visit as President to Sunnylands in California. But tables have turned in terms of the two participant’s domestic stature. The New York Times recalls the 2013 meeting, writing that at the time Obama had found his footing following reelection, while Xi was adjusting after just taking office. This time around, Xi will be coming to the table after five years at the helm of China, just as Trump is getting his feet wet in Washington.

North Korea on my mind

Speaking to the Financial Times on Sunday, President Trump indicated North Korea will be a major focus of the meeting. “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t.” But Trump added “if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”