Xi extends warm, personal welcome to Trump

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/8 17:24:30

First families take tea, share video, watch Peking Opera

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan pose for a photo with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in the Forbidden City in Beijing Wednesday as Trump begins the most important leg of his Asia tour. Photo: Xinhua

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania received an unprecedented warm welcome at the Forbidden City arranged by their Chinese counterparts  President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, signifying the importance of bilateral ties amid regional tensions.

The two leaders and their spouses had a brief afternoon tea in the Hall of Embodied Treasures, in the southwestern corner of the Forbidden City. Xi thanked his guests for their kind reception at the Mar-a-Lago estate when he visited the US in April and wished them a pleasant time in China, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xi said he believes Trump's state visit to China would achieve "positive and important" results, and as per the request from Trump, Xi introduced the status quo of China's social and economic development, and the achievements from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which just ended last month.

Trump thanked the Chinese side for their hospitality and thoughtful arrangements, and he congratulated Xi on his re-election as the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and the successful CPC congress.

The Chinese hosts carefully designed the tour in the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the presidents and their wives walking through the three great imperial halls each of whose names contains the Chinese character he, meaning "harmony."

Trump also had a hands-on experience of working with a traditional painting. Several scenes from different Peking Operas were staged in a newly renovated three-story theater. The operatic scenes were apparently carefully chosen as they contained a lot of acrobatics and minimal singing to avoid a language barrier.

"The primary task for Trump in his visit to Asia this time is to stabilize and develop the Sino-US relationship, which will also determine future US development," Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

After the 19th Party congress, China has grown in confidence, not only in shaping the Sino-US relationship, but also in contributing to humanity by providing another path, that of socialism with Chinese characteristics, for other countries to achieve modernization, which differs from Westernization, Jin said.

"China's increasing confidence is certain, and now the question is how the US values this certainty. If they treat it negatively and see it as a challenge, then it would be bad for bilateral ties; but if they see it as an opportunity for cooperation, then the ties would greatly benefit."

US President Donald Trump talks to Peking Opera performers at the Forbidden City in Beijing Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Arabella goes viral

During the visit to the Forbidden City, Trump showed Xi and Peng video clips of his granddaughter, Arabella Kushner, with a tablet computer. The clips showed Arabella singing in Chinese and reciting a part of the Three-Character Classic, an 800-year-old Song Dynasty (960-1279) text, and ancient Chinese poems.

Arabella is already a child star in China, said Xi, as he praised her by giving her an "A+" for her improvement in speaking Chinese. The president added that he hopes Arabella will visit China in the future.

The video of Arabella singing has gone viral on China's social media and won more fans for the Trump family. Many netizens praised her performance and education, with some saying "you can't get away from reciting poems in public even if you're a president's granddaughter." 

"Showing off a granddaughter's performances to others normally happens between families with a close relationship, whether in American or Chinese culture. This shows that the personal and working relationship between the two leaders is very close," Diao Daming, an associate professor at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

"This style of educating the next generation shows that Trump's family acknowledges China's international status and potential, and they highly value the future of China's development," Diao said.

Trump didn't stop tweeting during his stay in China. He thanked President Xi and Madame Peng Liyuan "for an unforgettable afternoon and evening at the Forbidden City" in his first tweet from Beijing on Wednesday evening.

Newspaper headline: Warm, personal welcome

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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