WATCH: President Trump and Justin Trudeau Try to Bridge Some Gaps While Avoiding Flashpoint Issues

Despite sharp differences on immigration, refugees, trade and climate change, President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada struck a cordial tone on Monday in their first meeting, alternating between attempting to bridge those gaps and steering clear of them.

Mr. Trump has called for a halt to the admission of refugees, saying that terrorists might slip into the United States among them, while Mr. Trudeau has held out Canada as a haven for refugees, particularly people who have fled the war in Syria, publicly hugging newly arrived families.

When asked at a White House news conference whether he now sees the northern American border with Canada as insecure, Mr. Trump skirted the question, speaking instead of his administration’s efforts to deport criminals from the United States.

In the same vein, Mr. Trudeau declined to say whether he agreed with the president’s executive order restricting immigration.

“The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves,” he said.

Maintaining the country’s close political and economic links with the United States was top of the Canadian leader’s agenda before his visit to Washington. Mr. Trudeau had forged an unusually close relationship with former President Barack Obama, but many of Mr. Trump’s policies, particularly his protectionist stance on trade and his call for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, are chilling for Canadians. They count on trade with the United States for about 25 percent of their country’s gross domestic product.

“It is a real concern for many Canadians because we know that our economy is very dependent on our bonds with the United States,” said Mr. Trudeau, who has expressed a cautious openness to renegotiating the trade pact.

Mr. Trump’s complaints about trade have focused primarily on Mexico, another partner in the North American agreement, and China, which he has accused of taking advantage of the United States. He did not answer a question about whether he sees Canada as a fair trader, but suggested that he does not foresee deep changes in that relationship, which he called “outstanding.”

“We’ll be tweaking it,” he said. “It’s a much less severe situation than what’s taking place on the southern border.”

He said the two leaders had spoken privately about “doing some cross-border things that will make it a lot easier for trade and a lot better and a lot faster.” They issued a joint statement pledging to continue border security programs that began under Mr. Obama, and reaffirming their commitment to NATO, an alliance that Mr. Trump had previously questioned.

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