Why Trump’s budding bromance with Xi is doomed

The New York Times reports: President Xi Jinping of China and President Trump, despite vastly different personal styles, have several things in common.

They were both born to privilege. They both possess boundless self-confidence. Each seeks advice from a select inner circle, ignoring the big bureaucracies of his government.

Mr. Trump, not known for his effusive praise of world leaders, has talked up their relationship, saying in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” last weekend that his relationship with China was “already acclaimed as being something very special, something very different than we’ve ever had.” He called Mr. Xi “a man that I’ve gotten to like and respect.”

But beneath the bonhomie, Chinese analysts say, fundamental differences of strategic interest are likely to undermine any personal ties Mr. Trump says he has forged with the Chinese leader. The romance, they say, may be more a short marriage of convenience.

Mr. Trump’s public effusiveness is barely reciprocated in China. The state-run media accords Mr. Trump polite coverage, much more so than it did President Barack Obama — a signal that the government, for the time being, would like the Chinese people to view the American president in a positive light.

Among foreign policy experts, however, there is skepticism that Mr. Trump’s flattery of Mr. Xi, and his reliance on the Chinese leader to bear down on North Korea over its nuclear program, will bring the results he wants. [Continue reading…]

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