World

Donald Trump kicks off Florida meetings with Chinese president

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened their high-stakes summit at Trump's Florida beach resort Thursday, with the urgent threat of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and tensions over trade on the agenda for the first meeting between the leaders of the world's two largest economies.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump greeted Xi and his wife at the Mar-a-Lago estate before making their way to dinner. The meeting kicked off amid suggestions the Trump administration was considering military action against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 people.

The president pointed to the crisis in North Korea as a top priority in the meetings with Xi, telling reporters on Air Force One on his way to Florida on Thursday that he thinks China will "want to be stepping up" in trying to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Still, Trump appeared lighthearted as he greeted Xi, gesturing and pointing to journalists as they tussled to get a shot of the two leaders together for the first time.

Ahead of the dinner, Trump said he and Xi already had had a long discussion and had ``developed a friendship,'' and then joked, ``I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing.''

The White House said the location was selected to give the two days of discussions a more relaxed feel. A number of Trump's top advisers were in attendance, including his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Outside the dining room where the two delegations gathered for a lavish dinner, Mar-a-Lago club members packed the patio for dinner.

While Trump would not say what he wants China to do specifically with regard to North Korea, he suggested there was a link between terrible'' trade agreements the U.S. has made with China and Pyongyang's provocations. He says the two issues ``really do mix.''

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