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After days of being flattered, Trump bestows compliments, calls China's leader 'a very special man'

Brian Bennett and Noah Bierman, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

Later, Trump blamed prior U.S. administrations for creating a trade imbalance, saying, "It's too bad that past administrations allowed it to get so far out of kilter."

Trump's language, putting the U.S. and China on near-equal footing, could play to Xi's favor. The Chinese president is eager to assert China as a world power rivaling America.

Xi spoke in far different terms, celebrating a Chinese economy that is entering a new phase, from "high-speed growth" to "high-quality growth."

During the joint statement to the media, the two leaders said they agreed to cooperate on trade imbalance reduction, North Korea and cyber security, as well as on cracking down on illegal shipments to the United States of the powerful opioid fentanyl, which has contributed to a sharp rise in drug overdoses in the U.S.

Throughout, Trump seemed to be making an attempt to play on Xi's ego in the same way that other world leaders have appealed to his.

"China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard," he said, referring to North Korea. "I know one thing about your president: If he works on it hard, it will happen."

Trump seems to have relished his tour of Asia so far, visiting three countries where he was lavished with praise, feted and, above all, treated with respect, at a time in Washington when Trump is constantly feeling disrespected, insulted and under siege.

Arriving at the Great Hall of the People, an enormous edifice completed in 1959 for the 10th anniversary of the Communist Party's taking of control of China, Trump wore his signature wide, bright-red tie, which matched the dozens of red banners flapping along the roof of the hall.

A massive red vase holding fake flowers several stories tall stood in the middle of the empty square, where in 1989 hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens camped out for six weeks to demand democratic reforms before the government cleared the area in a brutal and deadly crackdown.

After shaking hands with the Chinese and American delegations, Trump and Xi stood together inside a gold reviewing stand with a red-and-yellow awning as a military band played each country's national anthem.

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