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Donald Trump and Xi Jinping
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping participate in a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump asked China’s president for help on arrested basketball players there


President Trump personally asked his counterpart in China for help resolving the case of three Americans who were recently arrested there, according to The Washington Post.

The Post on Monday reported that Trump raised the arrests to Chinese President Xi Jinping during his two-day state visit to Beijing last week.

Trump arrived a day after a trio of men’s basketball players for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were arrested for shoplifting in Hangzhou, China last week.

A U.S. official said that Xi pledged to examine the case and ensure the athletes were treated expeditiously and fairly.

The Post’s source also noted that White House chief of staff John Kelly has been in touch with both UCLA coach Steve Alford and the families of the three players involved.

The official added that the charges against the players have been reduced and that the case about them is moving toward a resolution.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday confirmed in an email that Trump raised the matter with Xi.

UCLA guard LiAngelo Ball and forwards Cody Riley and Jalen Hill did not play during their team’s win over Georgia Tech last Saturday in Shanghai.

ESPN reported last Saturday that the three were not on UCLA’s flight back to Los Angeles after allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou.

A source with firsthand knowledge of the probe told ESPN that the players could remain in Hangzhou for “a week or two.”

ESPN’s source added that there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside of high-end shopping center there.

The center includes such stores as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo locations.

The three players have been at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Hangzhou since Nov. 8, where they remain with a UCLA representative.

The arrests have made global headlines as UCLA is one of America’s top college basketball programs.

LiAngelo Ball’s family is also well-known in the sports world, and his brother Lonzo Ball currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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