China

Although candidate Donald Trump had little good to say about China, by the time President Trump visited Beijing as part of his Asian tour last month, he was touting the "great chemistry" enjoyed with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

When President Trump returned this week from a 12-day, five-nation swing through Asia, he gave himself high marks for the "tremendous success of this trip."

But experts say that while he avoided major blunders during his stops in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, the president missed more than one opportunity to offer his administration's strategic vision for the region — the world's largest, most populous and fastest growing.

The three UCLA basketball players President Trump helped spring from China this week looked shamefaced when they told reporters in Los Angeles that they were guilty of shoplifting sunglasses in China. They added they were grateful to Trump for raising their case with President Xi Jinping.

In China's coal country, Shanxi Province, the black stuff is a more than just a source of income — it is a source of identity. Lumps of it are for sale at the national coal museum, in elegant, satin-lined gift boxes. The rest of the coal museum is faded and out of date, much like the city of Taiyuan, where it is located, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing.

Engaging the Chinese on North Korea and trade were President Trump's two priorities this week in Beijing — and engage he did, but Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave little indication he was ready to budge any further on either issue.

President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping say they have agreed to work together on the denuclearization of North Korea and closer cooperation on trade.

In a joint statement delivered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People with Xi, Trump praised the Chinese president as "a very special man," and earlier, he said the two enjoyed "great chemistry." The Chinese leader emphasized that while the two economic and military giants would occasionally have differences, there were opportunities to be "mutually reinforcing."

As the sun went down Wednesday on the vermilion walls and yellow tile roofs of Beijing's Forbidden City, the first families of the U.S. and China took in a Peking opera performance in the palace where China's emperors lived for nearly six centuries.

It was the start of what China's ambassador to the U.S. calls a "state visit plus" — a highly choreographed blend of stagecraft and statecraft, designed to highlight the evolving chemistry between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping.

After stops in Japan and South Korea, President Trump arrived in China on Wednesday, the third of his five stops in Asia this week. He had tea and dinner, and took in some opera, with China's leader Xi Jinping. On Thursday, they will hold bilateral talks. On the table will be the trade imbalance between the countries that Trump hopes to rectify and ongoing provocations from China's intransigent neighbor, North Korea.

Even as the world — especially Asian nations — looks on, no one is watching this leg of Trump's swing through Asia with more trepidation than Taiwan.

Soft lounge music pipes through the speakers as elegantly dressed shoppers peruse organic produce and meats at City'super, one of Shanghai's most upscale markets, a cross between Whole Foods and Louis Vuitton. But one look at the price of an American steak is enough to conjure a mental scratch of a needle across this soothing soundtrack: Nearly $60 for a pound of USDA Prime ribeye.

President Trump on Monday pledged to stand by Japan against the "menace" of North Korea and said he hoped the two nations could come to a "free, fair and reciprocal" trade relationship.

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