Don't expect more than a friendly handshake in Trump-Xi meeting, former Bush advisor says

Don't expect more than a handshake at Trump/Xi meeting: Expert

Don't expect more than a friendly handshake in a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a former advisor to President George W. Bush said Monday.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a marginally higher open on Monday ahead of the two leaders' meeting this week at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf course in Florida.

Trump, who declared China the "grand champion" of currency manipulation and has called himself a tough negotiator, will face his first real test on trade.

John Rutledge, a former advisor to the Bush White House on tax policy and Iraq, said the president's meetings with foreign leaders are a form of theater.

"The only thing that matters to these two leaders is what each of them looks like to their home audiences," Rutledge said on "Squawk Box." "Trump needs to look like he is a tough meany to his base, and Xi needs to look like he is sitting at the adult table now."

In an interview with the Financial Times, Trump said the U.S. will take unilateral action to eliminate the nuclear threat from North Korea if it didn't receive assurances from China.

"China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't," Trump said.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump said he expected a "difficult" meeting.

@realDonaldTrump The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits...