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Trump and China's Xi grin ahead of tricky Florida talks

Donald Trump, meeting Xi Jingping for the first time, has been highly critical of China. Credit: AP

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have delivered broad smiles ahead of their high-pressured summit talks.

The leaders of the world's two biggest economies were seen shaking hands at the president's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida.

The presidents posed alongside first lady Melania Trump and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan. Credit: AP

The pair then formally posed with their wives, Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan, on the steps before traditional sit-down shots inside.

The couples will dine together to begin an overnight summit that will include a working lunch on Friday where the tone could become far less cordial.

The leaders smiled ahead of what is expected to be combative summit talks. Credit: AP

Mr Trump last week tweeted that the summit would be "a very difficult one", with North Korea's missile tests, Chinese tensions with Taiwan and trade issues on what could become a combative agenda.


Xi open to trade deal while staying 'patient' over Hinkley

The issue of Hinkley Point was not explicitly mentioned in talks between Theresa May and Xi Jinping. Credit: PA

Chinese president Xi Jinping has hinted he is willing to remain patient over the Hinkley nuclear project as he raised the prospect of a major free trade deal between the UK and China in private talks with Theresa May.

A Number 10 official said Mr Xi understood why the new Prime Minister felt the need to take a fresh look at agreements made by David Cameron's administration, which saw her surprisingly delay the Chinese-backed Hinkley Point plant.

Although the project was not mentioned in the talks after the G20 summit, the official said President Xi "recognised the new Government would need to take some time before reaching decisions on some agreements pushed by the last government".

"President Xi said that they had the patience to wait for a resolution on those issues," the official added. "He said that they wanted to look at how we could strengthen our trading and economic relationship and that China was open to a bilateral trade arrangement with the UK."

Mrs May said she was hoping to visit China next year as President Xi welcomed her commitment to continuing what she described as a "golden era" in relations with Beijing.

Downing Street said the 30-minute meeting was "warm" with Mr Xi even commending the UK on Team GB's second-placed finish above China in the Rio Olympics' medals table.

Kerry: 'Critical and challenging times'

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Chinese President Xi Jinping that tensions on the Korean peninsula were one of the challenging issues he would be discussing with Xi.

Mr. President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues - issues on the Korean peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost.

Xi Jinping formally elected China president

China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping shakes hands with former President Hu Jintao. Credit: Reuters

China's parliament formally elected heir-in-waiting Xi Jinping as the country's new president, succeeding Hu Jintao, putting the final seal of approval on a generational transition of power.

The largely rubber stamp National People's Congress chose Xi in a tightly scripted ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Xi was appointed party and military chief - where real power lies - in November.

Cameron sends 'congratulations' to China's new leader

I extend my congratulations and best wishes to the new Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China. 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

There are many things we can and need to do together as countries of global influence, and permanent members of the UN Security Council.

I am committed to deepening our cooperation with China in the interests of shared prosperity and security and developing our shared understanding of each other’s values.

The UK wants China to prosper, and I believe we have much to offer to help it do so.

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