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.

 

Xi must at all costs head off a destabilizing trade war -- one possibility if Trump follows through on his threats to impose tariffs on Chinese goods. Yet should Trump come out with guns blazing on issues like the economy and China's failure to do more to rein in North Korea, Xi will also be under pressure to respond in kind, making the mood of the summit difficult to predict.

 

Trump has his own reasons to hope for a successful summit. Seventy plus days in, his presidency is in a state of crisis -- often because of the actions, comments and tweets of the President himself. He's under pressure to make good on his own campaign trail promises to turn the US trading relationship with China on its head. And he warned ahead of the summit that it could be a rocky one because of what he sees as disparities in the economic relationship.

 

Read more in the BBC review.

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