Trump and Xi are set for two days of meetings
They are taking place at Trump's Florida resort
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sat down to steak and pan-seared sole shortly after Trump made the decision to pull the trigger on a missile strike in Syria – the biggest military action of his presidency.
Trump met with his national security team before the formal dinner in Mar-a-Lago Thursday, sitting through the meal with President Xi while action was underway.
Defense Secretary James Mattis updated President Trump about strikes following dinner, according to a US official.
The gathering, in an ornate private dining room on Trump’s opulent Florida estate, was taking place ahead of a series of high-stakes meetings where the two leaders are expected to tackle a range of complex issues.
The trade relationship between the two countries and the rising threat of North Korea’s nuclear program are due to be top of the agenda during discussions due to take place at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump and Xi are also scheduled to sit down together again on Friday for a working lunch, while first lady Melania Trump and Madame Peng Liyuan visit a local school together.
China ‘stepping up’?
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the first in Trump’s administration to greet Xi on the tarmac early Thursday afternoon as he landed at Palm Beach International Airport.
Trump landed at the same airport about an hour later.
Hours before their first encounter, Trump predicted aboard Air Force One that “China will be stepping up” to help the US put a stop to North Korea’s nuclear program. He also pressed forward with his rhetoric that the US has been “treated unfairly” on the trade front.
“We have been treated unfairly and have made terrible deals – trade deals – with China for many, many years – so that’s one of the things we’re going to be talking about. The other thing is North Korea. And somehow we will mix, they really do mix. We’re going to be talking about trade, North Korea and many other things,” Trump said.