Chinese state media is cheering the meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as one that shows the world that confrontation between the two powers was not inevitable.
The official China Daily newspaper on Saturday said it was encouraging to see the two-day summit that ended on Friday “going as well as it could” after earlier “confusing signals” from Washington about how it was approaching the US-China relationship.
Trump had campaigned with strident anti-China rhetoric and had angered Beijing before taking office by talking to the president of Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own.
But the two sides avoided any diplomatic gaffes at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida that would have tarnished the meeting in the eyes of the protocol-conscious Chinese.
China Daily said both parties appeared “equally enthusiastic about the constructive relationship they have promised to cultivate”.
State-run Chinese tabloid Global Times said the meeting “served as an indicator that the China-US relationship is still very much on course since the Trump administration took office in January” and it was likely the two nations would develop a more “pragmatic relationship”.
Their comments were echoed by a front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, which said the meeting established the tone for the development of US-China relations.
In a tweet on Saturday, Trump wrote of the meeting: “goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade”.
In the talks, Trump pressed Xi to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear program and the two agreed to a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting US exports and reducing the gaping US trade deficit with Beijing.
US industry had hoped Trump would deliver a strong message to Xi behind closed doors to end what they see as discriminatory trade policies, but not do anything rash to spark a trade war.