Chinese President Xi Jinping (R, Front) and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump (L, Front) take a walk to further discuss bilateral cooperation issues in the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the United States, April 7, 2017. The two leaders held their second round of talks here on Friday. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
by Xinhua writers Wang Fengfeng, Meng Na
MAR-A-LAGO, United States, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's plane took off from Palm Beach International Airport in Florida early Friday afternoon after his first meeting with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.
In the span of a little over a day, Xi spent over seven hours discussing bilateral and global issues, building personal rapport with Trump while charting the course for China-U.S. relations in a new era.
A WALK BY THE SEA
The meetings between the two presidents were held at the Mar-a-Lago resort, dubbed the "Southern White House." Just before Xi concluded his visit on Friday, he took a walk with Trump on the greens of the sea-side estate.
"It was obviously a perfect weather day today, and it was a great opportunity for both the presidents and their wives to really get to know one another and enjoy, share meals together, and work on important issues," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said later in the day at a briefing in Palm Beach.
Getting to know one another was obviously a major purpose of Xi's visit. Trump was also aware of the gravity of his first meeting with Xi.
In remarks on top of Friday's meeting, Xi said the Mar-a-Lago meeting had "unique importance for China-U.S. relations," as the in-depth and lengthy exchanges let him and Trump deepen their mutual understanding and trust, and establish a working relationship.
Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of China Institute of International Studies, said the informal settings can help the two presidents' face-to-face communication go deeper.
A SMILE ON THE FACE
Xi's two-day trip at Mar-a-Lago was marked by cordiality, with both presidents seen smile to each other.
The atmosphere reached its peak Thursday evening as Trump hosted Xi at a welcome banquet. Both presidents gave impassioned speeches. Xi expressed his readiness to lead, together with Trump, people who have good wishes and passion to upgrade China-U.S. relations, while Trump, for his part, said "we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it."
Some of the eye-catching outcomes of the meetings include Trump's acceptance of an invitation to visit China this year, as well as the establishment of a new cabinet-level framework for negotiations, which includes the diplomatic and security dialogue; the comprehensive economic dialogue; the law enforcement and cybersecurity dialogue; and the social and cultural issues dialogue.
As Xi put it at the banquet, the development of bilateral relations should bring the citizens of both countries a sense of benefit.
A TOUCHING MOMENT WITH A SONG
The meetings also had its heart-warming moments. On Thursday, Arabella and Joseph, grandchildren of Trump, sang for Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan classic Chinese song Jasmine Flower and recited ancient Chinese poetries -- in the company of their parents Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
"It takes political resolve and historical commitments from leaders of both countries to enhance the bilateral relations in the 45 years to come," Xi said on Thursday, in reference to former U.S. President Richard Nixon's ice-breaking visit to China 45 years ago.
"The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding," said Trump on Friday after meeting with Xi. "We look forward to being together many times in the future, and I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away."
There are "a thousand reasons to make the China-U.S. relations work, and no reason to break it," said Xi on Thursday.
The feeling was shared by many who live on the vicinity of Mar-a-Lago.
"In this day and age, with the internet, everything is connected no matter what you want to do," said Miles Middlebush, a 32-year-old local businessman, adding that the United States and China have to work together more for the sake of the world and the future, not only themselves.
"My hope and belief is that we are going to have a great relationship in the next four or eight years, or even longer," said Middlebush.