President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai to plan next week’s meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to a Sunday New York Times report.
Kushner and Cui’s new relationship comes ahead of the meeting at the president’s resort in Palm Beach, Fla., as Trump prepares to meet the leader of a country he repeatedly criticized on the campaign trail. recently, he tweeted it would “very difficult” to meet with Xi.
The Times reports that Kushner and Cui worked closely together on the logistics of the meeting, with Cui sending Kushner a joint statement for the two governments to issue following their diplomatic dinner on Thursday.
Trump had a controversial phone call with the president of Taiwan before he took office, breaking with the longtime U.S. policy of recognizing Taiwan as part of China. Kushner reportedly facilitated a phone call to mend the relations between Xi and Trump in early February, which sparked a new relationship with Cui.
Trump wants China to pressure North Korea to terminate its ballistic missile and nuclear programs as well as renegotiate the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China in return for recognition of the “One China” policy regarding Taiwan, the newspaper reports.
The Chinese government prefers courting Kushner, the Times reports, rather than working with the State Department because it “reflects a Chinese comfort with dynastic links,” noting that Xi is the son of a Chinese leader. Kushner, a trusted senior adviser to the president as well as husband to the president’s daughter Ivanka, is seen as having a powerful influence in the White House.
But officials told the newspaper that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes the decision about U.S. policy toward China.
The Trump administration is still deciding how intensely it plans to push Xi on North Korea and trade, the paper added.