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SINO DAILY
Trump praises China's 'highly respected' Xi
By Laurent THOMET
Beijing (AFP) Nov 10, 2017


Chinese 'love' Trump's Mandarin-speaking granddaughter
Beijing (AFP) Nov 9, 2017 - While media coverage of Donald Trump's meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping Thursday focused on trade and North Korea, it was the wide-eyed crooning of the US leader's granddaughter that stole Chinese netizens' hearts.

In a video that Trump showed Xi during their stroll through the historic Forbidden City Wednesday, his granddaughter, Arabella Kushner, greets "Grandpa Xi and Grandma Peng (Liyuan)" with several Mandarin ballads and a recitation of ancient Chinese poetry.

China's Xinhua state news agency, which circulated the clip widely on social media, reported that Xi said the six-year-old girl's Mandarin skills deserved an "A+".

The Chinese public agreed, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

"As a little ambassador of Chinese-American friendship, Arabella has already received the love of a vast number of Chinese people," Hua said during a regular press briefing Thursday.

"This kind of special arrangement is actually very sweet and warm-hearted. We believe that this has helped to further bring closer the affection and distance between the Chinese and American people."

Arabella also played a starring role at the state dinner organised by Xi in Trump's honour at the Great Hall of the People on Thursday night.

The full video, which Trump brought as a gift for Xi, was played on screens in the room, earning her a mention in her grandfather's toast.

"Our children so often remind us of our shared humanity and true dignity," Trump, 71, said.

Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, was filled with praise for Arabella's performance Thursday, though it was unclear how many comments related to Trump's visit had been censored.

"She's too cute!" users gushed. "Let's hope that she marries into a Chinese family."

Others made light of the fact that apparently no one can avoid the arduous task of memorising ancient Chinese poetry -- not even the US president's granddaughter.

It's not the first time Arabella has played a role in Sino-American diplomacy.

When Xi visited Trump's Mar-a-Lago Florida resort in April, Arabella recited for Xi the "Three Character Classic", a time-honoured text from the Song Dynasty that was also included in her latest clip.

Ivanka Trump, Arabella's mother and a White House adviser, has said in interviews that her children have a Chinese nanny who teaches them Mandarin.

Ivanka Trump frequently posts videos of Arabella speaking or singing in Chinese to her social media accounts, and she brought her daughter to a Lunar New Year event organised by the Chinese embassy in Washington.

US President Donald Trump praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a "highly respected and powerful representative of his people" on Friday as he wrapped up his first state visit to Beijing.

Trump showered his host with accolades during two days of meetings during which the US leader sought to convince Xi to do more to reduce a trade deficit with China and rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.

"My meetings with President Xi Jinping were very productive on both trade and the subject of North Korea," the US leader wrote on Twitter before flying to Vietnam for an Asia-Pacific summit.

"He is a highly respected and powerful representative of his people. It was great being with him and Madame Peng Liyuan!" he said, referring to Xi's wife.

Trump has repeatedly congratulated Xi for his reappointment as head of the Communist Party at a congress last month where he consolidated power -- raising eyebrows over the admiration of a non-democratic process.

US and Chinese firms signed more than $250 billion in business deals during Trump's visit, though analysts say many were nonbinding agreements that could take years to show any results and would do little to reduce the US-China trade imbalance.

Trump, who has softened his past criticism of China, again lambasted past US administrations for allowing the $350 billion trade deficit to balloon over the years.

"I don't blame China, I blame the incompetence of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage of the US on trade leading up to a point where the US is losing $100's of billions," he wrote as he again circumvented China's Twitter ban.

"How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue? I would've done same!"

China was the showpiece of Trump's five-nation tour of Asia, which ends on Monday.

During their talks on Thursday, Trump thanked Xi for his backing of United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang and China's own restrictions on banking for North Koreans.

While Xi said China was committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, he did not announce any new steps to squeeze the reclusive regime.

- 'Very special man' -

Xi and Trump have struck up a friendship since their first meeting at the former real estate tycoon's Mar-a-Lago resort in April.

Xi treated Trump to a lavish "state visit-plus" that included a private tour of the Forbidden City, a military honour guard and a banquet.

The US leader called his host a "very special man" and showed him a video of his granddaughter singing ballads in Mandarin. The two men will be in the same room again at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

First Lady Melania Trump did not join the president for the rest of his Asian tour, staying in Beijing on Friday to continue the US charm offensive. She will see pandas and visit the Great Wall.

"Melania is staying behind to see the zoo, and of course, the Great WALL of China before going to Alaska to greet our AMAZING troops," Trump tweeted.

Trump, who wants to build his own massive wall along the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, did not visit the Great Wall -- a usual stop for US presidents.

Chinese state-run media hailed the positive tone of the state visit, though the China Daily said in an editorial that "the differences that had been pestering bilateral ties have not instantly disappeared".

SINO DAILY
Chinese dissident writer dies on medical parole
Beijing (AFP) Nov 8, 2017
A veteran Chinese dissident who had nearly completed a 12-year prison sentence for "subversion" has died on medical parole, rights groups said Wednesday. Writer Yang Tongyan died on Tuesday, nearly three months after an August 23 surgery to remove a brain tumour, Amnesty International said in a statement, citing information from close friends. Rights groups say a pattern has emerged in r ... read more

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