Tough words have been exchanged between them or through their officials the past few months. Relations have been tense between the two powerful countries who are not the best of friends, but could not both afford to be enemies. They also differ in a number of important issues. For these reasons and more, the first meeting between President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping next week in the U.S. is one of the most highly-anticipated visits of a world leader since Trump was sworn into office in January.
President Trump will host Xi at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on April 6-7 next week. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will also join the meeting of the two leaders. In his recent visit to China, Tillerson reportedly told Xi that President Trump gives high importance to maintaining communications with Xi.
The meeting between Trump and Xi will take place amidst increased tensions between the world's two largest economies on a number of issues such as North Korea, Taiwan, the disputed South China Sea, and trade.
President Trump has always been vocal in saying that China needs to do more on North Korea, fix the large trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, and has also criticized Beijing's pursuit of aggressive, expansive claims in the South China Sea. U.S. officials said these issues will top the agenda of the meeting between the two leaders.
Tensions also rose when then President-elect Trump took a congratulatory call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that angered Beijing. A displeased Beijing reminded Washington of its commitment to " One- China policy". Trump then hit back and said the U.S. did not really have to stick to such policy, and that he can change that under his presidency.
China has also reportedly been irritated for being told repeatedly by the U.S. to help control North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, or else face U.S. sanctions on Chinese business trading with North Korea. China also appeared displeased with the U.S. decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea.
But there have been efforts between the two sides to be friendlier. White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing that the meeting would be a good chance for Trump to develop a relationship in person with President Xi. The two have spoken on the phone several times.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang for their part said that there's a need for both parties to see the " big picture" while working for their mutual interests in trade relations. He said that the market dictates that interests between the two countries are structured so that "you will always have me and I will always have you"
.Asked if the Trump administration has a vision for its China policy like Obama's "pivot" or "rebalance" to Asia, the White House answered they are not worried so much about slogans as much as progress. The White House said there's so much the U.S. needs to accomplish with China, and that they will work on them.