External Content

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One as he returns to the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to host Chinese President Xi Jinping at a two-day summit next month, according to media reports, as his administration seeks to smooth relations with the world's second-largest economy.

The meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 6-7 at Trump's Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, U.S. online media outlet Axios reported on Monday, citing officials familiar with the plans.

CNN also reported the planned summit, citing an unnamed administration official. It added the plan was tentative and that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was expected to finalise plans during a trip this week to Asia, which includes a stop in China.

A U.S. administration official, who asked not to be named because no official announcement has been made about the meeting, said the summit was possible but was not confirmed.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reported summit would follow a string of other recent U.S-China meetings and conversations aimed at mending ties after aggressive criticism of China by Trump during his election campaign.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who outranks his country's foreign minister, visited Washington last month to discuss the two countries' economic ties and security interests, including meetings with Trump and Tillerson.

During his campaign, Trump accused China of unfair trade policies, criticized its island-building in the strategic South China Sea claimed by several countries, and accused it of doing too little to constrain its neighbour, North Korea.

After his election, Trump incensed Beijing in December by taking a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and later saying the United States did not have to stick to the so-called "one China" policy.

Under that policy, Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China, of which Taiwan is a part. Trump later agreed in a phone call with Xi last month to honour the policy.

Trump has also written to Xi since he took office on Jan. 20, seeking "constructive ties."

Tillerson, making his first trip to Asia as secretary of state, is scheduled to visit China on March 18-19.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Roberta Eampton, David Brunnstrom and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington, and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Frances Kerry)

Reuters