As President Xi Jinping touched down in Palm Beach, Florida, in the early afternoon of April 6 for his first face-to-face encounter with the brash and flamboyant American president, US-China relations were poised in a state of suspended animation.
Four questions loomed over the gathering at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s officially designated ‘Winter White House’.
First, would Donald Trump be an exception to the presidential rule on America’s China policy? For four decades and counting, US presidential candidates have typically made harsh pronouncements regarding China. Yet incumbency has elicited a more pragmatic tone of voice and deed, as presidents tend to revert to the mean in China policy.