Trump greets his first Chinese diplomat at White House

Following a Feb. 9 phone call in which Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping resolved a lingering question over the condition of the decades-old “One China” policy, the U.S. president hosted Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi at the White House on Monday.

Sources with knowledge of the gathering say Mr. Yang briefly met with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, top White House adviser Steve Bannon, senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

It is the first meeting involving a Chinese representative and officials with the Trump administration.  An agreement for Mr. Trump to meet with President Xi was made, but no date has been set.

While White House spokesman Sean Spicer downplayed the significance of the encounter, indicating the meeting was an opportunity for Yang to say “hi,” the People’s Republic of China’s media website offered a broader view of the meeting.

A statement released by the China’s State Council revealed the meeting produced an agreement “pledging to enhance bilateral high-level exchanges and cooperation in all areas.”

Although no substantive talk was held,  the meeting is regarded as consequential:  China’s state councillor is among the highest-ranking officials within the Chinese government, holding domestic and foreign duties. The position grants authority above Chinese cabinet ministers, and immediately beneath vice-premiers.

One day following his visit with President Trump and his advisers, Yang met with newly-minted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.  During the meeting, the pair reaffirmed agreements the day before to work cooperatively and enhance bilateral ties.

 

[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via CNBC]