As far as Xi is concerned, ties with Trump are just dandy
That, at least, is what Xi told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to multiple government sources.
Xi's remark suggests that he is eager to resolve growing trade friction between China and the United States through further dialogue with the U.S. president.
Abe met with Xi in Beijing on Oct. 26 as part of events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty.
The conversation between Abe and Xi took place during a dinner reception after the two leaders met for formal talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, according to the sources.
Seated next to each other, the two leaders spoke for about 90 minutes on a range of regional issues, the sources said.
Abe urged Xi to maintain dialogue with Trump to help avert a disastrous turn of events that could have global trade ramifications.
Speculation had arisen that Trump and Xi no longer see eye-to-eye after Trump said at a Sept. 26 news conference that he and Xi were maybe no longer friends.
But, indicating he thought the criticism was directed more at China than him personally, Xi told Abe, "Trump has never criticized me by name."
Xi also expressed interest in the many rounds of golf Abe has played with Trump on the sidelines of their summit meetings.
At one point during their dinner conversation, Xi asked Abe, "What does Trump talk about when you are playing golf with him?"
A government source said that the general impression was that Xi was eager to improve his relationship with billionaire Trump.
Abe and Trump also discussed sports, especially in light of the fact that after Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics, Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Xi told Abe, "China has to become stronger in the various events of the Winter Olympics."