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U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping make joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9.   © Reuters

Xi Jinping bests Trump in Asia-Pacific diplomacy

US push for bilateral trade deals could make or break its regional influence

KEN KOYANAGI, Editor-at-large, Nikkei Asian Review | China

HANOI -- The hospitality U.S. President Donald Trump received on his tour of Asia was so warm that he may have felt more at home than in Washington, where he is constantly sparring with the media. But while Trump was relishing the red-carpet treatment and promoting his "America first, bilateral first" trade policy, Chinese President Xi Jinping rather deftly positioned himself as a leader on free trade and global development.

Even Xi's expansionary policy in the South China Sea was left mostly unchecked.

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