Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton spoke with the press today to preview the upcoming visit of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China to Washington, DC.
During the special briefing Ambassador Thornton noted, “President Trump and the First Lady will host Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Madam Peng Liyuan at Mar-a-Lago in Florida tomorrow and Friday. This is a very momentous meeting. It’s a great opportunity and it’s also a chance to have a discussion with the Chinese about areas where we have some concerns and want to make some progress.”
During what will be the two leaders’ first meeting, the Ambassador conveyed, “They want to build up the type of personal rapport and working relationship that we’ll be able to count on in times of opportunity, but also in times of crisis…And we hope to identify some priorities to focus on going forward and discuss the full range of important issues that come up in our bilateral relationship, but also global challenges around the world.”
The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping builds on a number of interactions that have occurred between the leaders of our nations, including Secretary Tillerson’s recent travel to the East Asia and Pacific Region for meetings with his foreign counterparts including President Xi in Beijing. During the upcoming meeting in Florida, Ambassador Thornton noted, that as our two nations address some of our common challenges the United States will be looking to identify areas for concrete outcomes as well as benefits for the American people. “We’re also going to be identifying our -- the priority that we place on continuing to uphold the rules-based international system and to abide by international and universal norms and values,” she commented.
When asked about expectations in terms of outcomes regarding North Korea, Ambassador Thornton made clear that addressing North Korea’s destabilizing and provocative behavior will be a high-priority topic of discussion during the meeting between President’s Trump and Xi. “This is an issue that is going to be discussed at this meeting...It’s a urgent and global threat, and we see the North Korean weapons programs as increasingly destabilizing, both for Northeast Asia and for the globe,” she said.
As she concluded her statement, Ambassador Thornton underscored that the United States and China have a relationship based on cooperation and candor. The Ambassador added, “This is the first time that the presidents will meet, but it won’t be the last. It has been a tradition in U.S.-China relations that the high-level engagements are a very important part of our communication between our two countries, and I think we will continue to have high-level engagements in the months and years ahead.”
Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.
For More Information:
- Ambassador Thornton previews of the Visit of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China to the United States
- White House background briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the Visit of President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China
- Secretary Tillerson’s April 4, 2017 statement on the North Korean Missile Launch
- DipNote blogs on U.S. Engagement in the East Asia Pacific Region