China’s leader gets trade pitch on Alaska stop Trump tweets: ‘Only time will tell’

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Mark Thiessen and Becky Bohrer

AN­CHOR­AGE, Alaska — Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping took in some of Alaska’s nat­u­ral beauty Fri­day night, and the state’s gov­er­nor hopes this will lead to an in­creased ap­petite in the world’s most pop­u­lous na­tion for more nat­u­ral re­sources from Alaska.

Xi re­quested time with Gov. Bill Walker as the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion’s plane made a re­fu­el­ing stop in Alaska’s largest city fol­low­ing meet­ings with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in Florida. Xi, his wife and the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion stepped off the Boe­ing 747 and were greeted by Walker, his wife and sev­eral dig­ni­taries.

Later, Walker and Xi spoke briefly to re­porters be­fore a busi­ness meet­ing, in which Walker touted the state’s abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources of oil and fish as well as its min­eral re­sources

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says his meet­ings with China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping went well, but as for any progress on trade “only time will tell.” Trump tweeted Satur­day: “It was a great honor to have Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China as our guests in the United States. Tremen­dous good­will and friend­ship was formed, but only time will tell on trade.” in­dus­tries.

Walker also ad­vo­cated for a nat­u­ral gas pipe­line he has long backed; it would take nat­u­ral gas from Alaska’s North Slope to the coast for ship­ment. Alaska could pro­vide a gen­er­a­tion’s worth of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas to China, he told Xi.

For Walker, even just a few hours of time with the pres­i­dent of China could pay div­i­dends. China is the state’s top ex­port mar­ket, buy­ing nearly $1.2 bil­lion worth of goods in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau. The next top in­ter­na­tional mar­ket is Ja­pan, at nearly $820 mil­lion, fol­lowed by South Korea, at $730 mil­lion.

Chris Hladick, com­mis­sioner of the state’s com­merce de­part­ment, called the visit by the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion a “once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity.”

MARK THIESSEN/AP

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met with Alaska of­fi­cials dur­ing re­fu­el­ing Fri­day.

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