Ivanka Trump effect: new year hopes from president’s daughter welcomed in China

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Beijing media says visit to embassy in US could help balance chairmen harsh posture but relationship with Washington remains strained

Donald Trumps ascension to the presidency has been marked with tough talk on China and he has surrounded himself with a clique of China-bashing advisers. Now China ensure a glimmer that the relationship is not entirely lost and is pinning hopes on a new tool to balance Trumps bombast: the Ivanka effect.

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of the president, made an appearance at the Chinese embassy in Washington on Wednesday evening during a celebration for Chinese New Year, with her own daughter in tow.

The lunar new year, also known as springtime festival, is the most important vacation in China, triggering the worlds largest migration of people as millions of employees return home. It is celebrated by Chinese communities around the world, and has become an occasion for world leaders to offer greets, and sometimes show off their Mandarin chops.

Chinese media took note that Trump did not send a personal message to mark the vacation this year. Instead the acting secretary of state issued a statement on behalf of President Trump and the American people.

But another member of the Trump family stepped up for the most basic of diplomatic missions: Ivanka Trumps five-year-old daughter. Arabella, who has been learning the language since she was 18 months old, sing in Mandarin Chinese in a video posted to Twitter.

Ivanka Trump (@ IvankaTrump)

Arabella singing a anthem she learned for #ChineseNewYear. Wishing everyone an amazing year to come during these days of gala. jxHHLvhmzm

February 2, 2017

Ivanka Trump was greeted at the party by the Chinese ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, before watching a series of traditional crafts are applied to mark the holiday, according to a video posted by nation media. She and her daughter were also accompanied by the ambassador for a musical performance, with every move recorded by a scrum of photographers.

The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, interpreted her visit as balancing Trumps harsh posture.

Her appearance at the Chinese embassy, with a certain political and diplomatic implication, could be invigorating to the China-US relationship, the paper said in an editorial.

The visit raises the prospect that the presidents daughter, who does not hold an official posture in the US government, may act as a proxy for her father, perhaps playing the good policeman to his bad cop. Her husband, Jared Kushner, is a senior consultant at the White House.

As her parent has railed against China and promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US during his campaign, mills in China have turned out tens of thousands of shoes for Ivanka Trumps way line.

Chinese social media lighted up with news of her embassy visit, with the hashtag #TrumpsDaughterVisitsChinasEmbassy breaking the top 10 on the countrys version of Twitter.

China has been fairly restrained in the face of Trumps bombastic rhetoric. Cui, the Chinese diplomat, continued in that vein at the lunar new year event, hoping to maintain a status quo in relations with Washington.

We have learned that we should always respond to difficulties and challenges by cooperation, instead of conflict or showdown, he said during a speech. We should work together for win-win cooperation, instead of being misguided by zero-sum or cold war mentality.

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December 16, 2017
December 16, 2017
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