WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to host Chinese President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit next month at his palatial Florida mansion along the Atlantic Ocean, the first meeting between the two world leaders.
Neither Washington nor Beijing has confirmed the summit at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, but U.S. news outlets report the meeting between the heads of the world's two largest economies is planned for April 6 and 7.
The reports said that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to complete plans for the Trump-Xi meeting when he visits Beijing later this week. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday both countries were in "close communication" about exchanges between their leaders.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump and Xi would discuss the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons development program and test missile launches, as well as other issues.
Trump has often called on China to rein in Pyongyang's aggressive actions, pointing to Beijing's influence over the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The U.S. also has voiced its opposition to Beijing's development of man-made islands in the South China Sea, occasionally sending its warships in close proximity to the islands in international waters as a show of strength in the region.
Meanwhile, China voiced its irritation with the U.S. when Trump at first expressed the possibility of ending the decades-long U.S. "one-China policy" that accepts Beijing's claim on Taiwan as part of China.
In his transition to power, Trump took a pre-arranged call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen congratulating him on his November election victory, a suggestion the U.S. was not wedded to the idea of China control of Taiwan that Washington first accepted in 1979.
In a message on his Twitter account, Trump said at the time, "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call."
But a month ago, Trump assured Xi in a phone call that there was no change in the U.S. acceptance of the one-China policy, easing the path to the planned summit.
During his long run to the White House, Trump often assailed China for allegedly manipulating its currency to benefit Chinese exporters. The new American president, nearing two months in office, has often complained about the wide trade imbalance between the two countries, with the $347 billion disparity between two countries the biggest in the world.
Last year, China sent $463 billion in consumer electronics, clothing and machinery to the U.S., while the U.S. shipped $116 billion in raw materials to China for low-cost assembly.
Many of the most popular U.S. consumer products sold by American technology giant Apple, including its popular iPhone, are manufactured in China.
But numerous economic analysts say it is doubtful Trump can cut in to the wide trade imbalance, despite his frequent boasts that he will bring back jobs to America that have been lost to overseas locations as manufacturers search for cheaper labor in other countries.
Trump has suggested that he will try to impose new tariffs on foreign-produced goods manufactured by U.S. companies overseas, an action that would need congressional approval and could set off a tariff war with other countries.
The reality is that many American consumers want to be able to buy cheaper foreign-produced items, though, even if it means that fewer goods are built in America and it costs U.S. workers their jobs.
Trump said during his presidential campaign that on his first day in office he would label China a currency manipulator, but he has yet to do so.