Six years on from cake at Mar-a-Lago, China’s Xi returns to a much warier US
Six years after attending a lavish state dinner at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida, Chinese President Xi Jinping returns this week to a much cooler reception in Washington. Relations between the world’s two largest economies have grown increasingly frosty, as millions of new Beijing-backed jobs in China, the global chip shortage and a raft of security issues from Taiwan to Iran have strained the relationship. Trump still sees Chinese investment as essential to achieving his goal of “America First,” and has pressed for an end to what he calls “unfair economic practices” by China. However, the administration’s accusations of intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and other areas now echo through Congress, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been uncomfortable with the tariffs Trump imposed on imports from China. Beyond these issues, the United States has become increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea and has been locked in a diplomatic standoff with Beijing over its handling of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.