President Trump and Chinese President, Xi Jinping were finishing dinner together at Mar-a-Lago when Trump shared with Xi that the United States had launched an air strike against a Syrian air field. But the fireworks didn’t start until after President Xi had left the United States.
It was after his time as a guest of Trump – with his plan was safely out of US airspace – when China delivered its response to Trump’s attack.
Delivered by way of Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, Xi made it clear that he denounced the use of a retaliatory military strike. According to The New York Times, the attack was an “act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles.”
In a deeper analysis, Xinhua suggested that this was more likely than a not an orchestrated move meant to put distance between Trump and Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
The Times sums up the interaction by commenting on how the Chinese expected Trump to behave during their visit:
That unflattering assessment reflected China’s official opposition to military interventions in the affairs of other countries. But it was also a criticism of Mr. Trump himself, who Mr. Xi had hoped was a man China could deal with.
Chinese officials had feared that the two leaders’ 24-hour encounter at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida might be marred by a campaign-style anti-China outburst from Mr. Trump. Instead, it was interrupted by the unexpected missile attack.