Trump’s top deputies hope to shore up ties with a suspicious Mexico

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Mexico City on Wednesday on a mission to mend deeply frayed relations with the United States’ southern neighbor.

John F. Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, was expected to join him later in the day in a bid to repair the once-close relationship, which began deteriorating when President Trump repeatedly criticized Mexico during his election campaign.

Days after he took office, Trump argued on Twitter with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto over Trump’s demand that Mexico pay billions of dollars to build a massive wall along the border. The Mexican leader rebuffed Trump by canceling a planned visit to the White House.

Tillerson and Kelly will sit down with Peña Nieto on Thursday as well as with Mexico’s secretaries of foreign affairs, the interior, finance, national defense and Navy. In addition to the wall, they are expected to discuss trade, counter-terrorism, immigration and other key bilateral concerns.

“We have been cooperating with United States for many years on these issues, because they asked us to, and because we have a friendly, trustful relationship,” former Mexican Foreign Secretary Jorge Castañeda  recently told CNN. “If that relationship disappears, the reasons for cooperation also disappear.”

There seems to be little space for common ground, however.