As Donald Trump and Xi Jinping prepared to meet for the first time this week, Jean-Guy Carrier was in Jordan, chatting up Middle Eastern financiers. He had come to a conference of the Union of Arab Banks – a place that could hardly be farther from the nexus of power and diplomacy that Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort will become on Thursday and Friday.
And Mr. Carrier, a former Canadian journalist who once covered the North by hitching rides on planes out of Churchill, Man., could hardly be more distant from the crowd of real estate tycoons and Communist Party elite who will gather in southern Florida.
Mr. Carrier is now executive director of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, and he was in Amman to spread the gospel of China’s “One Belt, One Road” project, with its ambition to spread Chinese money and influence far and wide. Invited by Palestinian billionaire Munib Masri, Mr. Carrier described how Chinese banks and government institutions can be partners and financial enablers for all manner of government spending projects, in Jordan but also in places as distant as Iceland, Kyrgyzstan and Mexico.
The Xi-Trump summit in Florida has been billed as a chance “to chart a way forward for the U.S.-China bilateral relationship,” one that should be “based on a principle of reciprocity,” a senior White House official said on Tuesday.
But China’s leadership will arrive in Mar-a-Lago intent on using the stage with Mr. Trump to further cement the role it sees for itself as leading a new era of international relations and economic growth, on Chinese terms.
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