World News

China says preparatory work for Xi-Trump meeting has begun

China's President Xi Jinping attends the closing session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - Preparatory work for a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump has begun, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after a weekend visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

With warm words from Xi, Tillerson on Sunday ended his first trip to Asia since taking office, with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues.

The two sides appeared to have made some progress or put aside differences on difficult issues, at least in advance of a planned summit between Xi and Trump, which could happen next month in the United States.

“On this visit to China by Secretary of State Tillerson, both sides had a deep discussion on arranging a meeting soon between the two heads of state and began relevant preparatory work,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

“Both sides agreed to remain in close touch about this, to ensure the smooth success and fruitfulness of exchanges between the heads of state and in other areas,” she told a daily news briefing, without giving details or dates.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez