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Trump to meet China’s Xi in Florida next week

This combination of two 2016 file photos shows, US President-elect Donald Trump, left, talking to President Barack Obama at White House in Washington on 10 November, and China's President Xi Jinping arriving at La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, on 22 NovemberImage copyright AP
Image caption Mr Trump eased tension in a call to Mr Xi last month

China has confirmed the dates of President Xi Jinping’s trip to the US to meet his counterpart Donald Trump.

They will meet at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on 6 and 7 April.

Trade will be a major issue for the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies, as will the thorny matter of North Korea.

Ties got off to a rocky start when Mr Trump took a call from Taiwan’s president, but eased when the US leader reaffirmed the “One China” policy.

The long-standing policy states that there is only one Chinese government, something Mr Trump had threatened in the past and which was further called into question when the US president broke with diplomatic norms in December to accept a call from the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and lodged a protest after the call.

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In a TV interview in December, Mr Trump cast doubt on “One China”, saying: “I fully understand the ‘One China’ policy, but I don’t understand why we have to be bound by the ‘One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China, having to do with other things, including trade.”

That led Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang to reaffirm that the “One China” policy was the basis for relations with Washington, and China’s hawkish Global Times tabloid to dub Mr Trump “ignorant as a child”.

Comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on China’s military build-up in the South China Sea further chilled ties. He suggested that the US should block access to artificial islands China is building in disputed waters.

But Mr Trump eased relations with a telephone call to Mr Xi in mid-February, backing “One China”.

The US president said the conversation was “very warm”, adding: “We had a very, very good talk last night, and discussed a lot of subjects. It was a long talk.”

North Korea will also be a key issue.

Mr Trump has said that China “has done little to help” in countering the belligerence of North Korea, a country he said in a tweet was “behaving very badly” and had been “playing the United States for years”.

The decision to use Mar-a-Lago plays down the pomp and circumstance of a full state visit.

Mr Xi becomes the second world leader to travel there, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February.

Mr Xi is unlikely to play golf, as Mr Abe had done.

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