WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump spoke Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, congratulating Xi on beginning a second, five-year term as leader.
China's ruling Communist Party this week formally lifted Xi's status to China's most powerful ruler in decades by writing his name and dogma into the party's constitution alongside the party founders.
In a tweet, Trump said he congratulated Xi on his "extraordinary elevation" and that the two discussed trade and North Korea.
In an interview with Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs that taped shortly after the phone call, Trump described Xi's elevation as something that had "really virtually never happened in China."
"He's a powerful man. I happen to think he's a very good person," said Trump, describing their relationship as notably strong.
"People say we have the best relationship of any president-president, because he's called president also," he went on to say. "Now some people might call him the king of China. But he's called president."
Trump and Xi will meet in China next month during Trump's first presidential visit to Asia. Trump said he'd be "going to Beijing and other places, wherever he'd like to take me" and said he hopes the trip will be "historic and positive" with serious progress on North Korea.
Trump will also stop in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines during the Nov. 3-14 trip.