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Donald Trump plans ‘meeting plus dinner’ with Xi Jinping after G20 summit in Argentina
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping pictured in Beijing last year. Photo: AP

US President Donald Trump has offered to host a dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 1 in Buenos Aires after the G20 leaders summit, an invitation Beijing has tentatively accepted, people familiar with the arrangement have told the South China Morning Post.
 
The Post reported two weeks ago that Trump and Xi had agreed to meet on November 29, the day before the official opening of the summit, but the meeting was rescheduled and upgraded into a “meeting plus dinner” at Trump’s request, the people said, who declined to be identified as the information is still classified.
 
A “Western-style” sit-down dinner after the G20 summit could offer the two leaders more time to talk than a chat on the sidelines of the summit and could offer a more conducive atmosphere for negotiations.
 
“Trump originally planned to leave Buenos Aires as soon as the G20 agenda finished, but he has decided to postpone his departure to make this dinner happen,” a source said.
 
It is not yet known what specific issues will be on the agenda.
 
The two leaders had a call on Thursday, officially agreeing to meet in Argentina and laying the ground for further discussions on trade and North Korea.

Trump said in a tweet that he had a “long and good [phone] conversation” with Xi, adding: “We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade. Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!”
 
The Chinese side issued a much longer statement about the phone call.
 
According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Trump that “both of us have good intentions for the healthy and steady development of Sino-US relations and for growth in Sino-US trade cooperation, and we shall make efforts to turn these intentions into reality.”
 
Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said on Thursday that the summit between Trump and Xi will be more than a meeting on the sidelines and may include a formal dinner, according to The Hill, a Washington-based news outlet.
 
The G20 summit will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders in about a year and could help ease the tensions between the two sides following a series of clashes over issues such as the South China Sea, Taiwan and Xinjiang.
 
Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have both accused China of meddling in US elections and CIA Director Christopher Wray has portrayed China as a bigger threat to American national security than Russia.
 
Trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies have been rising since Trump slapped a first round of punitive tariffs on Chinese tariffs in July, sparking a tit-for-tat trade war that has targeted more than half of the goods shipped between the two countries.
 
The trade war is spurring companies to consider moving parts of their supply chains out of both the US and China over the longer term and delaying or cancelling investment in both countries, a report for the American Chamber of Commerce for South China found this week.
 
The dispute has also cast a shadow over the global growth outlook and soured market sentiment in China.
 
Asian equity indexes jumped on Friday morning following the news of Trump and Xi’s phone conversation amid hopes of a deal to end the trade war.
 
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index soared by as much as 2.7 per cent, its biggest intraday percentage jump in a year, in morning trading while the Shanghai Composite Index rose by as much as 2 per cent and the Shenzhen Composite Index shot up by 2.5 per cent.
 

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