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After a series of fraught phone calls between the US president and other world leaders, the White House has revealed that Donald Trump has opted to exchange letters with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In an announcement made on Wednesday evening, the White House press secretary said Mr Trump had thanked the Chinese leader for a congratulatory letter following his inauguration and said he “looks forward to working with President Xi to develop a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China.”

The letter as described would mark a change in tone for Mr Trump, who relentlessly criticised China during his campaign and has promised to label the country a currency manipulator, asserting that Beijing has devalued its currency to gain an unfair advantage in exports over the US.

However, China does not actually meet the current criteria to be labelled a currency manipulator. Last month China’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $3tn for the first time in seven years and it has spent an estimated $664bn to slow the renminbi’s fall, which has spurred continued and unwelcome capital outflows over the past year and a half.

The White House also said Mr Trump’s letter wished “the Chinese people a happy Lantern Festival and prosperous Year of the Rooster”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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