Trump meets Xi: What's at stake
(CNN)It's a blind date with global ramifications.
President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet for the first time Thursday and will seek to forge a connection and to stabilize the world's most important diplomatic relationship, despite a gulf between them in experience, temperament and global outlook.
Both have a long way to come to meet in the middle.
Trump, the brash, outspoken, political novice who seems to give little mind to policy details, anchored his campaign on China bashing. He once warned that China had committed "rape" against the US economyand tweeted that global warming was a Chinese ruse to damage US manufacturing.
Xi, though more prone to depart from his talking points than his predecessor Hu Jintao, spent decades navigating treacherous Communist Party politics, and speaks in the formal diction of Chinese statesmanship, where words and linguistic formulae for defining diplomatic relationships matter above all.
Xi is the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, and is flexing Chinese power in Asia on behalf of a nation still on the ascent.
Trump's political position is far more precarious. He's the most unpopular new American president since pollsters began assessing approval ratings. He took office at a time when US power in Asia is seen to be ebbing, to China's advantage. And the President's decision to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal might have been seen as a win by his supporters, but was seen in Asia as a harbinger of a US retreat.
But despite their differences, when the two leaders sit down at Trump's luxury club at Mar-a-Lago they will have share one thing that might help them forge common experience -- the summit requires both to navigate delicate domestic politics.
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