China’s communist state media published a piece praising President Donald Trump for his “little interest in empty diplomatic struggles” on Wednesday, as the American head of state joined his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on a tour of Beijing’s Forbidden City.
In a column on Trump’s visit to China this week, the state-run Global Times described Trump’s alleged lack of interest in these diplomatic endeavors as a “good tendency” in addition to his “particular focus on the importance of reviving the U.S. economy.”
The Times proclaims Trump’s China visit the “most important” part of his Asia tour—which also includes allies like Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines—and notes that the Communist Party is waiting to greet him with “enthusiasm.” The column warns, however, that “Chinese leadership will not prioritize the interests of the U.S. over those of China” the way that Trump does, and as such Trump must navigate his relationship with Xi with “wisdom.”
The column also takes a moment to denigrate Japan, describing the nation as a colony of America for its close ties to the free world. “It’s impossible for the U.S. to dominate the whole world in the way it dominates Japan,” it warns.
Regarding his foreign policy, the Global Times appears to be referring to Trump’s rejection of dialogue with North Korea, which he has described as a “waste of time.” While Trump recently said that he would “sit with anybody I feel” in response to whether he would consider talks with a dictator, the president has made clear that any rogue state would have to meet certain preconditions on belligerence towards the world and human rights to receive the honor of his presence at a bilateral meeting.
The Global Times article is among the most overt attempts China is making to ingratiate itself with Trump while he is in the country. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also weighed in, thanking Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for their hospitality in April, when Xi Jinping visited the couple at their Mar-a-Lago estate.
“When President Xi Jinping visited Mar-a-Lago this April, President Trump and his wife offered a hospitable and considerate reception to President Xi Jinping and his wife with high-standard and thoughtful arrangements being made in all respects,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Tuesday. “We Chinese people believe that courtesy calls for reciprocity. The Chinese side attaches great importance to President Trump’s visit to China.”
On Wednesday, Hua repeated the importance the state places on Trump’s visit, noting that “informal” interactions are on the schedule for Trump and Xi, not merely work meetings.
Chinese state media announced this week that Xi hoped to provide Trump and the First Lady with unspecified educational opportunities to persuade Trump to see the world from the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party. On Wednesday, Trump, First Lady Melania, Xi Jinping, and his wife Peng Liyuan toured Beijing’s Forbidden City, the residence of the Chinese emperor for nearly 500 years.
“I believe the visit will achieve positive and important results with concerted efforts of both sides,” Xi told reporters at that event.
Trump arrived in China on Wednesday, and reports out of Beijing have provided little in the way of substantive discussion between the two leaders. He met Xi in Beijing closely following a hard-hitting speech in South Korea on Tuesday in which he warned communist North Korea, “Do not underestimate us and do not try us.”
Speaking to the South Korean National Assembly, Trump asserted his wish for “peace through strength” before addressing dictator Kim Jong-un.
“The weapons that you are acquiring, they are putting you in grave danger,” he said. “North Korea is not the paradise that your grandfather envisioned, it is the hell that no person deserves.”
China has been a traditional ally of the fellow communist state for decades, and Trump has made driving a wedge between Pyongyang and Beijing a key goal of his foreign policy.