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Chinese leader declares 'new starting point' in meeting with Trump, who touts personal bonds

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump. (Nicolas Asfouri / AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump. (Nicolas Asfouri / AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a "new starting point" for the U.S.-China relationship while President Trump declared that “we have a capacity to solve world problems for many, many years to come” on Thursday, as the two men held their first official business meeting after a raft of ceremonies.

Xi, who comes into the meetings flush with new authority in his country, was more detached in his comments than Trump, who spoke in personal terms about a terrific initial meeting Wednesday night and a dinner that went longer than expected because the men were having such a great time.

Trump's language, putting the U.S. and China on near-equal footing, could play to Xi's favor. The Chinese president is eager to assert China as a dominant world power rivaling America.

But Trump hinted, without specifics, that he would be pushing Xi on North Korea and trade. He said part of the solution to the trade imbalance with China could include changes in U.S. trade laws or practices.

“I have great respect for that because you're representing China,” Trump said. But he blamed prior administrations for creating a trade imbalance that has become “so far out of kilter.”

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