Trump hosts Xi in Florida

US President Donald Trump and Chinese head of state Xi Jinping have met for the first time at Trump's estate in Florida. The most important topic during the two-day meeting is almost certainly how to deal with North Korea's nuclear programme. The press discusses how relations between the US and China will develop over time.

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Tportal (HR) /

Clear rules for competition between superpowers

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping must be aware of their responsibility for the entire global economy, warns Tportal:

“Beijing will not give in to pressure from America that could in any way slow down the Chinese economy. For China, regional dominance and equal rights in shaping global politics signify its return to superpower status. On the other hand the US has no intention of giving up its dominant global position to China. ... Xi and Trump bear responsibility for the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, but also for world order as a whole. The two most powerful global politicians must realise that a certain amount of political, economic and strategic competition is necessary and inevitable, but it must remain within clearly defined parameters.”

Le Temps (CH) /

More power for Beijing not a good prospect

Trump's China policy is like a carte blanche for Beijing, Le Temps warns:

“Not only will Donald Trump barely put up any resistance to Xi Jinping, he has basicaly given him free rein by denouncing the Transatlantic free trade treaty hammered out by his predecessor and by pledging to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Human rights? Off the table. Xi Jinping will allow his host to save face by offering him investment promises worth billions of dollars on a silver platter. The fact is that China, which wasn't even asking that much, could push the US onto the sidelines if Donald Trump doesn't get his act together pretty quickly. The absence of a counterweight to Beijing is very bad news, not only for China's neighbours but for the Chinese themselves. The Chinese dictatorship can only emerge stronger from America's abdication.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Empty threats against Pyongyang

Before his meeting with Chinese head of state Xi US President Donald Trump said in the Financial Times: "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." All just hot air, Anglo-Dutch journalist and Asia expert Ian Burama concludes in La Repubblica:

“Apart from their ineffectiveness, the empty threats from Washington also play right into the North Korean dictator's hands. … Because nothing will unite the North Koreans more than the threat of a brutal attack. … Putting pressure on the Chinese in the hope that their ally will renounce its nuclear arsenal is pointless. At best, one can hope that China will push for the North Koreans not to use the weapons. Cooperating with China on this shouldn't be too difficult because in Northeast Asia everyone essentially wants to preserve the status quo. And since President Trump won't be willing to risk a devastating war to force a change in the status quo either, North Korea will keep its nuclear weapons.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Trump's aimlessness is Xi's trump

Xi Jinping will play the worldly statesman vis-à-vis Trump, Die Presse suspects:

“In Florida, a well-prepared Xi will meet with a US president who despite all his big talk still doesn't know what he wants in the Pacific. ... Trump already made concessions to Beijing's hegemonic ambitions in the region when he rejected the Transpacific Trade Agreement - blocking the US's strategic access to the region. China was not to be part of the Pacific free trade zone. Meanwhile Xi will find a stage in Mar-a-Lago to present himself as a wise elder statesman seeking to tame the erratic Trump - perhaps with a surge in investments for US jobs. He will adopt the role of the representative of a globalised world order, a campaigner against trade barriers and climate change. ... The leader of repressive China already played this role with great gusto at the World Economic Forum in Davos.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Europe must stand up to the big powers

Given the likelihood of new conflicts between the US and China, Europe must position itself as a global power to avoid being crushed between the two, political scientist Jonathan Holslag urges in De Morgen:

“More than ever now Europe must prepare itself for new conflicts between the major powers and make itself indispensable in its own sphere of influence - for example along the problematic routes between the Western Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. ... From a geopolitical perspective it will also be decisive to renew discussions with Russia. A confrontation with a Sino-Russian axis in the heart of Eurasia would be a nightmare for us. Russia, too, has an interest in avoiding an unbalanced partnership with China. We must learn to think like a major power if we don't want to find ourselves at the mercy of other major powers.”