Trump hails 'tremendous progress' with Chinese leader Xi

Sharon Marris, News Reporter

Donald Trump said the US relationship with China had made "tremendous progress" as he met the country's leader Xi Jinping.

The US president met Mr Xi at his private estate in Florida.

Talks were expected to centre on what Mr Trump has described as China's unfair trade practices and inadequate efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

But the White House downplayed the possibility of a breakthrough on trade and tariffs.

In a brief appearance after their first round of talks, Mr Trump said he and Mr Xi had made "tremendous progress" and that they would be making "additional progress".

"The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding and I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away," he added.

It was quite a contrast to his pre-election rhetoric which said China was a "tremendous problem", with "unfair" trade deals "taking advantage" of US workers.

Many of those aggrieved workers helped Mr Trump win the November presidential election and he is under pressure to deliver on his promises to them.

Neither leader gave any specific examples of progress in the relationship between the two nations, with Mr Xi echoing Mr Trump's generalities by saying the pair had "engaged in a deeper understanding".

Mr Xi said they had established a good working relationship and that both countries had a historic responsibility to work together for peace and stability.

The meeting was overshadowed by the US missile strike in Syria, which was announced shortly after the two leaders finished dinner on Thursday.

China is not involved militarily in the Syria conflict but has previously sided with Russia at the UN.

Before the summit, Chinese officials had expressed fears that Mr Trump would continue his awkward history with world leaders by embarrassing the Chinese premier and veteran Communist Party chief.

Their fears were unfounded, however, as both men appeared polite and businesslike with each other.

Mr Trump and Mr Xi walked around the complex's lavish grounds after their meeting, chatting to each other, before the summit concluded with a working lunch.