• By bassey
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    Apr 06, 2017
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    Donald Trump and Xi Jinping

    US President Donald Trump is set to hold his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a high-stakes summit for both leaders.

    The heads of the world's two biggest economies will hold the bilateral at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.

    The American leader is expected to press his counterpart for action on North Korea, and Mr Xi to seek assurances on Taiwan.

    Mr Trump tweeted last week that the summit "will be a very difficult one".

    Mr Xi and his wife, folk singer Peng Liyuan, will be treated to a welcome banquet on Thursday afternoon at Mr Trump's palatial Palm Beach resort with the US president and first lady, Melania Trump.

    The bilateral will conclude with a working lunch on Friday.

    All eyes will be on body language between the two leaders - one a softly spoken Communist Party apparatchik and the other a brash Manhattan property tycoon.

    BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie says observers can expect an unpredictable power play from the very first handshake.

    The Chinese are reportedly wary that the mercurial US president could embarrass Mr Xi, who faces a party congress in November, by some breach of protocol.

    "Ensuring President Xi does not lose face is a top priority for China," one Chinese official told Reuters news agency.

    The Republican president's blue-collar supporters will hope he can translate his China-bashing election rhetoric into concrete gains for American manufacturing workers.

    Despite his tough campaign talk, Mr Trump has so far not followed through on his threat to formally brand China a "currency manipulator", or to hit Chinese imports with punitive tariffs.

    Mr Trump tweeted last week that the US could no longer tolerate massive trade deficits and job losses.

    One of the most urgent issues for the US is nuclear-armed North Korea, which fired a missile into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday.

    Pyongyang is openly trying to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the west coast of the US.

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