Trump and Xi have a con­cil­ia­tory meet­ing

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Jeff Ma­son

US PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump took a con­cil­ia­tory tone on Satur­day at a meet­ing with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping where the lead­ers agreed to keep work­ing on two press­ing is­sues: the nu­clear threat posed by North Korea and bi­lat­eral trade ir­ri­tants.

Trump cam­paigned in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on crack­ing down on China for its trade prac­tices, but he soft­ened his rhetoric af­ter tak­ing of­fice, say­ing he wanted to work with China on the nu­clear is­sue.

When the two lead­ers first met in April at Trump’s Florida re­sort, they ap­peared to hit it off. Trump called Xi a “good man” as he urged him to use Bei­jing’s eco­nomic clout to force North Korea to curb its nu­clear weapons pro­gramme.

Lately, Trump has ex­pressed some im­pa­tience on China’s role in North Korea – par­tic­u­larly af­ter Py­ongyang launched an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile that some ex­perts be­lieve could have the range to reach Alaska, and parts of the US West Coast.

His ad­min­is­tra­tion made new arms sales to Tai­wan, im­posed sanc­tions on two Chi­nese cit­i­zens and a ship­ping com­pany and put China on a global hu­man traf­fick­ing list. It also ac­cused a Chi­nese bank of laun­der­ing money for Py­ongyang.

The White House is also de­bat­ing trade ac­tions against Bei­jing, in­clud­ing tar­iffs on its steel ex­ports and a few days be­fore the G20 talks, Trump com­plained that trade be­tween China and North Korea had grown.

Im­pa­tience

But he showed none of that im­pa­tience on Satur­day, when the lead­ers met at the in­vi­ta­tion of Xi at the tail end of the G20 in Germany.

“It’s an hon­our to have you as a friend,” Trump told Xi, telling him he ap­pre­ci­ated ac­tions he had al­ready taken on North Korea.

“As far as North Korea is con­cerned, we will have, even­tu­ally, suc­cess. It may take longer than I’d like. It may take longer than you’d like.

“But there will be suc­cess in the end one way or the other,” Trump said.

Speak­ing to re­porters later on Air Force One, US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump-Xi meet­ing lasted more than an hour-and-a-half, and they had “sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sions” about how to deal with North Korea to­gether.

“In re­gards to China, we had very direct dis­cus­sions about North Korea.

“We had very direct dis­cus­sions about mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity co-op­er­a­tion,” Mnuchin said.

“I think that Pres­i­dent Trump made very clear to Pres­i­dent Xi that he is fo­cused on this is­sue, and wants to move for­ward and make progress. And I think Pres­i­dent Xi gave a very in­ter­est­ing per­spec­tive from their stand­point,” he added.

‘New progress’

For his part, Xi told Trump that stronger China-US ties were con­ducive to sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity amid global con­flicts, and had made “new progress” in some ar­eas “de­spite some sen­si­tive is­sues”, Xi said, ac­cord­ing to state news agency Xin­hua.

Xi stressed the im­por­tance of talks with North Korea, and said China’s navy will join next year’s US-led Pa­cific Rim mil­i­tary ex­er­cises. – Reuters

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