The New York Times reports: When President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China sit down for their first meeting next month in Palm Beach, Fla., they could use the balmy breezes and tranquil views at the Mar-a-Lago resort: Relations between the United States and China are as complex and chilly as they have been since the early days of the Reagan administration.
The list of issues that could open a new rift between these two men is long, such as the deployment of American antimissile batteries in South Korea, Mr. Trump’s campaign threats of a trade war or escalating tensions over the South China Sea and Taiwan.
The debate over where to hold Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Xi captures the underlying angst. Chinese officials pushed for an invitation to Mr. Trump’s private resort, American officials said, because it would be more relaxed and informal than a summit meeting at the White House. Equally important, it would reduce the pressure on the two leaders to produce any agreements, which in the current environment is viewed as unrealistic.
Inside the Trump administration, the visit lays bare the unsettled nature of policy toward China. The White House is divided into camps, with a fiercely ideological, anti-China faction vying against more pragmatic elements. Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has emerged as an influential, moderating voice. He is heavily involved in planning the presidential visit, a senior official said, and took part in a National Security Council meeting on Monday at which North Korea and China were discussed. [Continue reading…]