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Donald Trump meets Xi Jinping: What to watch

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North Korea and trade will be high on the agenda, but observers in Beijing will no doubt also be watching body language.
Two of the most powerful men in the world are about to hold meetings spread across two days.
President Xi Jinping of China – a highly experienced and astute diplomat and political operative – will encounter US President Donald Trump, someone who could not be more different – a businessman who only got involved in politics less than two years ago.
Here’s my checklist of what to watch during the Florida visit.
1. North Korea
The latest missile test by Pyongyang took place only this week. Experts believe North Korea is getting closer to being able to fire a “nuclear tipped” long range missile, that could potentially target the West Coast of the US. At a recent briefing, a senior White House official said, “I can tell you that it is now urgent. The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table for us. ”
China is the country that has the most leverage over the erratic and isolated leadership of North Korea, and it is unhappy with Kim Jong-un’s bellicose behaviour. Trump may try to persuade Xi to adopt much tighter economic sanctions. Diplomats believe these could be made to really bite, as China is by far North Korea’s largest trading partner. The problem is that in the end the US and China have very different views of their preferred outcome. While the US would love to see the collapse of North Korea, China views that scenario as a nightmare.
2. Syria
This has moved up my list in the last 36 hours. When he was standing next to Jordan’s King Abdullah in the Rose Garden on Wednesday, President Trump said he was changing his view of the Assad regime. He has asked the Pentagon for a range of options, and has told members of Congress that he is seriously contemplating military action. Such action would almost certainly have to be carried out without UN Security Council endorsement. China becomes important when considering the diplomatic fallout from any military operation.

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