U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sat down together to dine on pan-seared Dover sole and New York strip steak on Thursday, spending some social time before digging into thorny bilateral security and trade issues.
Trump has said he wants to raise concerns about China's trade practices and urge Xi to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions during his first talks with the Chinese leaders, though no major deals on either issue were expected.
The summit at Trump's Spanish-style Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, got off to a cordial start. Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, joined Trump and his wife, Melania, at a long table in a candle-lit ornate private dining room festooned with red and yellow floral centerpieces.
Trump, a New York real estate magnate before he ran for office, joked before dinner: "We've had a long discussion already, and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing, but we have developed a friendship - I can see that - and I think long term we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it."
The fanfare over the summit on Thursday was overshadowed by another pressing foreign policy issue: the U.S. response to a deadly poison gas attack in Syria. A U.S. official said on Thursday the White House and Pentagon were discussing military options.
Trump and Xi were expected to get into more detailed discussions about trade and foreign policy issues on Friday, concluding their summit with a working lunch.