Chinese President Comes to Meet Trump, Why Xi Needs to Tread Lightly

Trump is no stranger to criticizing China, so when President Xi Jinping comes to meet with him, it ought to be interesting. The agenda: everything. There will be talks about trade to North Korea’s nuclear threat.

Trump is predicting this will be a “very difficult” meeting.

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Major conflict with the United States in the first half of the year would be very bad news for Mr. Xi because it could undermine the leadership credentials he’s been cultivating for the past five years,” said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based historian whose father was a minister under Communist rule before being purged in the Cultural Revolution. “It’s the most unstable, risky and fragile moment for Mr. Xi domestically. Trump might use this to put pressure on him.”

Five of the ruling Communist Party’s seven most powerful leaders might be replaced at the 19th Party Congress later this year, along with scores of other senior positions. The horse-trading is already underway among party factions.

Trump plans to discuss trade, the economy and North Korea at the meeting, according to the senior administration official. In an interview with the Financial Times this week, Trump said he wouldn’t be surprised “if we did something that would be very dramatic and good for both countries.”


It sounds like the Chinese President is the one who needs to tread carefully. In the era of Obama, this was not the case. Now we have Trump, and no one wants to make him upset.


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