Trump Heaps Praise on Xi Jinping and Blames Predecessors for Trade Gaps

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“You’re a very special man,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Xi in joint statements made before reporters at which they did not take questions.

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President Xi Jinping is using tried-and-true methods to craft a personality cult reminiscent of Mao.

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Congratulating Mr. Xi on his consolidation of power at a recent Communist Party congress, Mr. Trump said, “Perhaps now more than ever we have an opportunity to strengthen our relationship.”

Mr. Xi did not return the favor. He made no reference to the first anniversary Wednesday of Mr. Trump’s election victory — as the leaders of Japan and South Korea did — and instead stuck largely to a familiar script in which he said China and the United States could peacefully coexist if they respected each other’s different political systems.

“I told the president that the Pacific is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States,” Mr. Xi said. Earlier, he said the “China-U.S. relationship now stands at a new starting point.”

Mr. Xi agreed with Mr. Trump on the need to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. He said China and the United States should strictly enforce United Nations Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang, but did not announce additional Chinese measures. The Trump administration is pressing China to cut off oil shipments, close down North Korean bank accounts, and send home tens of thousands of North Koreans who work in China.

The meeting came as North Korea is striving to master the technology of developing nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the continental United States. But Pyongyang has also not conducted a nuclear test in nearly two months, which some analysts see as providing a diplomatic opening.

On Saturday, the United States Navy is to conduct exercises in the Western Pacific with three aircraft carrier groups, carrying out large-scale naval maneuvers that are likely to alarm the North Korean government.

In his meeting with Mr. Xi, Mr. Trump steered clear of any mention of human-rights abuses in China, though he reaffirmed the United States’ interest in protecting the rule of law and the rights of individuals.

Still, Mr. Trump appeared satisfied with the outcome.

“A great responsibility has been placed on our shoulders,” he said, looking over at the Chinese leader. “It is truly a great responsibility.”

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