US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during their first meeting will try to establish a personal rapport and find out the key concerns in the bilateral ties like North Korea and trade disputes, the White House said on Thursday.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang said at a news conference that the government was in close contact with Washington and was assured the island's interests would not be harmed.

"They're not going to be solved at this meeting", Stapleton Roy, former US ambassador to China, told CNBC.

The European Union today imposed additional sanctions on North Korea over nuclear and ballistic missile tests which it said threatened global security.

For one thing, the Trump administration remains short-handed.

Trump built a reputation not just through his candidacy, but over decades in business by talking tough on China, calling for firm action on trade and lampooning multiple US presidents for showing weakness in their interactions.

"I think that is a lost opportunity if [the topic of climate change is] not raised", Barbara Finamore, founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council's China program, told The Independent.

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The two officials are also expected to discuss trade issues, especially the yawning gap that yearly sees vastly more Chinese exports to the United States than American goods being shipped to China, a $310 billion trade deficit for the U.S.in 2016. The two-day meeting at Trump's Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, starts Thursday after yet another North Korean provocation: the latest test-launch of a ballistic missile. "We have been trying the softly-softly approach on the Chinese for years on North Korea", Wilder said. North Korea has faced some increased pressure from China, its main military and economic partner.

In a statement about the 35-minute call, the White House said: "The president emphasized that the United States stands with its allies Japan and South Korea in the face of the serious threat that North Korea continues to pose".

"We'd like to see China working closely with the U.S. to address the menace emanating from North Korea, their weapons programs, the provocations that we've seen every week, missile launches, including one that we had not too many hours ago", he said at a separate news conference Wednesday for foreign press.

Still, it's anyone's guess as to how the meeting between Trump and Xi will go.

White House officials have set low expectations for the meeting, saying it will set the foundation for future dealings. Xi may offer to take some limited action against North Korea, said Doug Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Much of Trump's campaign trail tenor whirled around the issue of global trade, in which the then-candidate conjured an image of a U.S. that had succumbed to bad deals that sapped American jobs. It also remains to be seen whether the Obama administration's deal with Beijing to curb Chinese cybertheft for economic gain and its hacking of US companies will be addressed.

In a tweet last week, he highlighted China's massive trade imbalance with the USA - over $310 billion previous year - as a serious problem that could make his upcoming talks with Xi "difficult". China hinted that it would retaliate by restricting sales of USA goods. "I think obviously North Korea will be a major component of the conversations". Asked what he had got in return, his press secretary, Sean Spicer, said: "The President always gets something". Does he really expect Mr Trump to lay off large numbers of Chinese workers and risk social unrest, in this critical year, to make American manufacturing great again? "They understand the politics of the business relationship".


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