"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will", he said.
After arriving at the resort, the leaders were joined by their wives at a long table for dinner, where Trump joked with reporters about their progress, saying: "We've had a long discussion already, and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing". The same could be said of the nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles Pyongyang has long pursued.
Trump, a former real estate magnate, is still finding his footing in the White House and has yet to spell out a strategy for what his advisers called a trade relationship based on "the principal of reciprocity".
But he has moderated his tone since his election and he welcomed the 63-year-old Chinese leader to Mar-a-Lago's ornate dining room with an open agenda created to enable the pair build a rapport.
Ahead of the talks, U.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration would push for fair trade with China, and the interests of American workers were paramount for the President.
"The spirit of this summit is for the two to develop a relationship, to really establish a relationship, and to lay out the key concerns that each side has about the relationship and to then begin moving towards some kind of a formal series of dialogues that will aim to address those issues as well as areas of longstanding cooperation between the two sides. The other thing of course is going to be North Korea", Trump told reporters.
Other significant issues expected to come up in the meetings include cyber warfare, China's continued incursion into the South China Sea, and whether President Trump will reiterate the USA commitment to the "One China" policy following his call with Taiwan's president during his transition.
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Back in February, he told the Deseret News that "all doors are open", but he didn't have any predictions on what he might do. Hatch released a statement to FOX 13 saying in part: "while I have taken steps to run, I have yet to make a final decision".
The White House has downplayed expectations for a breakthrough on issues such as trade and tariffs, insisting that the 24-hour summit is mostly an introductory meeting for the two leaders. It came as the United States upped rhetoric on North Korea, suggesting in may take military action. In an interview last week with the Financial Times, Mr Trump said that if China does not take a tougher stand, the USA is prepared to act alone.
Trump built a reputation not just through his candidacy, but over decades in business by talking tough on China, calling for firm action on trade and lampooning multiple US presidents for showing weakness in their interactions. Others in the crowd, wearing red and waving US and Chinese flags, were there in support of China's leader.
Bonnie Glaser, an expert in Chinese foreign policy, said Beijing would view Trump's strikes as proof he was not afraid of taking bold military action, a reality that had potential implications both in North Korea and the South China Sea.
On the domestic political front, Xi is preparing for a party congress that could cement his grip on power for years to come, and needs to show he can deal with the USA leader as an equal.
The U.S. announced the missile barrage shortly after Trump and Xi wrapped up dinner Thursday.
"We have a thousand reasons to get China-US relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-US relationship", Xi told Trump. The move infuriated Beijing, leading Mr Trump to eventually reiterate his commitment to the decades-old policy. "If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone". He also wants to talk about Chinese trade practices, which he talked much about during his presidential campaign.