The first meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump made a breakthrough and created a new opportunity for the two great powers to develop their bilateral relationship, according to an expert.
Breaking with tradition
Yin Xiaohuang, a professor at the Occidental College, said in a recent interview with the Sino-US.com that President Trump broke with the tradition that new US presidents normally produced frictions with China during their first year in office. The Xi-Trump meeting, which was held just less than three months after President Trump took office, laid the foundation for a win-win cooperation between the two countries.
President Trump showed full respect to President Xi by hosting the Chinese top leader with a state dinner attended by nearly all of his key cabinet members. In addition, his five-year-old granddaughter Arabella Kushner serenaded President Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan, a singer herself, with her song-poetry performance during the visitors' stay at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which means that President Trump made full preparations for the meeting, Yin said.
From the perspective of the Chinese side, Chinese President Xi is the first Chinese top leader who knows the US very well, because he has paid six visits to the US, which started in the 1980s, according to Yin.
During the face-to-face meeting, President Xi focused more on making more agreements with his US counterpart, while President Trump honored the "one China" policy, which reflects the two leaders' pragmatism, Yin said.
On the eve of the Xi-Trump meeting, President Trump's decision to remove Steve Bannon, a critic of China, from the National Security Council, also shows that the Trump administration is inclined to be pragmatic about the relationship with China. Previously, Bannon predicted that there would be a war between the US and China in the South China Sea in 10 years.
However, Yin described President Trump as "capricious", because of his dramatic U-turn on air strikes in Syria. During his presidential campaign, Trump once criticized Obama's proposed Syria strike plan.
Impact of Ivanka and Kushner on China-US relations
Yin pointed out that the seating arrangement for the state dinner indicates the big role of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, the White House senior adviser, in the US policymaking toward China.
Ahead of the Xi-Trump meeting, Kushner traveled to Iraq on behalf of President Trump to express the president's support and commitment to the government of Iraq. Kushner has also taken charge of the Middle East peace talks and is dubbed as "secretary of everything" and "president-in-law" by the US media. To some extent, Kushner's impact on policymaking has surpassed any other cabinet members of President Trump, Yin noted.
Yin said that Ivanka Trump and Kushner's strong interest in Chinese culture creates a great opportunity for the two countries to deepen their cultural exchanges