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Trump and China: What's at stake?
01:26 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Trump says meeting will be "very difficult"

Presidential summit will be first time the two leaders have met

Trump hasn't yet followed through on his campaign trail rhetoric against China

CNN  — 

US President Donald Trump expects his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida next week to be “very difficult,” with jobs and trade likely to dominate discussions.

The summit on April 6 and 7 will be the first meeting between the two men in what many argue is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and it comes amid heightened tensions in Asia.

Hours after both countries confirmed the visit, Trump, in two tweets late Thursday, set out his priorities for the landmark summit.

“The meeting next week with China will be very a difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits… and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives,” Trump said.

But trade won’t be the only thing on the agenda.

Trump has said in recent weeks that North Korea is one of the biggest security challenges he faces as president and has called on China to rein in Pyongyang, which US officials believe is preparing for another nuclear test.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea and China’s continued building of man-made islands are also likely to be raised.

As the White House put it in a statement announcing the visit, “The two leaders will discuss global, regional, and bilateral issues of mutual concern.”

Xi will visit Florida after a trip to Finland, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Campaign trail attacks

Despite Trump’s fiery attacks on the campaign trail – accusing China of “raping” the US economy and stealing millions of American jobs, among other things – his administration has taken a relatively hands-off approach in dealing with Beijing so far.

Trump has not followed through on campaign promises to label China a “currency manipulator” on day one of his presidency or to impose steep tariffs on all Chinese imports.

He also endorsed the “One China” policy, which has governed the fragile relations between the United States, China and Taiwan for decades, after questioning its legitimacy shortly after his election.

Earlier this month, a senior US administration official told CNN that Trump planned to host Xi at his estate.

The details were ironed out by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who visited Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing earlier this month.

Trump has already formed a bond with another Asian leader, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, with whom Trump played a round of golf with in Florida in February and met at Trump Tower in New York as president-elect.

CNN’s Steven Jiang in Beijing contributed to this report.