Xi tells Trump fac­tors fray ties

China laments U.S. stances

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BEI­JING — Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping warned Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in a phone call late Sun­day that “some neg­a­tive fac­tors” are hurt­ing U.S.-China re­la­tions.

Xi’s com­ments, re­ported by state broad­caster China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion, fol­low China’s dis­plea­sure over U.S. arms sales to ri­val Tai­wan, U.S. sanc­tions against a Chi­nese bank over its deal­ings with North Korea and, most re­cently, the sail­ing of a U.S. de­stroyer within the ter­ri­to­rial seas limit of a Chi­nese-claimed is­land in the South China Sea.

China was also up­set by the poor grade it re­ceived from the U.S. State De­part­ment last week in a new re­port on hu­man traf­fick­ing.

A White House spokesman said Trump made the call to dis­cuss North Korea and the sanc­tions on the Chi­nese bank. But ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese state me­dia, Xi used the call — which took place Mon­day morn­ing in Bei­jing — to tell Trump that China ex­pects the U.S. to “han­dle the Tai­wan is­sue ap­pro­pri­ately.”

Xi wants the U.S. to con­tinue the one-China pol­icy that rules out for­mal con­tacts with Tai­wan, which China claims as its own ter­ri­tory.

Xin­hua, China’s state-run news agency, said Trump re­it­er­ated his pledge to up­hold the one-China pol­icy.

“Xi Jin­ping em­pha­sized that, since [the] meet­ing with the pres­i­dent at Mara-Lago, China-U.S. re­la­tions have achieved im­por­tant out­comes,” China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion re­ported, re­fer­ring to Xi’s meet­ing with Trump in Florida in April. “At the same time, bi­lat­eral re­la­tions have been af­fected by some neg­a­tive fac­tors. China has ex­pressed its po­si­tion to the U.S.”

Nei­ther the tele­vi­sion re­port nor the gov­ern­ment

state­ment men­tioned the ten­sions over the South China Sea.

China’s mil­i­tary vowed Mon­day to step up its air and sea pa­trols af­ter the USS Stethem sailed within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of Tri­ton Is­land, part of a chain of is­lands China claims and con­trols. It was the sec­ond such U.S. op­er­a­tion near Chi­nese-con­trolled is­lands in six weeks.

U.S. of­fi­cials tried to por­tray the pa­trol near the Para­cel Is­lands chain as a rou­tine, planned ma­neu­ver, but China’s De­fense Min­istry said its armed forces had dis­patched two frigates, a minesweeper and two fighter jets to warn the Stethem away. The Stethem, an Ar­leigh Burke-class de­stroyer, is based in Ja­pan.

The Paracels are among a group of is­lands and atolls in the South China Sea at the heart of on­go­ing ten­sions in South­east Asia. China claims full sovereignty over the sea and has built mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties on some is­lands.

China’s De­fense Min­istry said the United States has “se­ri­ously da­m­aged strate­gic mu­tual trust” be­tween the two coun­tries by en­ter­ing what it claimed were China’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters, while the coun­try’s For­eign Min­istry ac­cused the United States of stag­ing a “se­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary provo­ca­tion.”

The White House, un­der Pres­i­dents Trump and Barack Obama, has seen the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the South China Sea as a threat to sta­bil­ity in the re­source-rich re­gion, where ships from nu­mer­ous coun­tries have long fished.

NORTH KOREA THREAT

Trump late Mon­day called on China to help with North Korea af­ter re­ports that the North had launched a bal­lis­tic mis­sile that landed in the Sea of Ja­pan.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a state­ment that the launch was made from North Phy­on­gan prov­ince on North Korea’s west coast, just south of the China bor­der. Ja­pan’s chief Cab­i­net sec­re­tary told re­porters the mis­sile was fired around 9:40 a.m. Ja­pan time this morn­ing and flew for 40 min­utes.

Trump wrote in two con­sec­u­tive tweets: “Hard to be­lieve that South Korea and Ja­pan will put up with this much longer. Per­haps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this non­sense once and for all!”

Trump and his top aides have done lit­tle to hide their ir­ri­ta­tion over what they see as the reluc­tance by China, North Korea’s main eco­nomic part­ner, to use its in­flu­ence to slow or halt North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams.

Un­til re­cently, Amer­i­can of­fi­cials had been de­scrib­ing China as a part­ner in their strat­egy to pre­vent North Korea from de­vel­op­ing the abil­ity to strike the U.S. main­land with nu­clear weapons. While China has agreed to North Korean sanc­tions, it is wary of mea­sures that could cause the regime’s col­lapse, fear­ing that would send refugees into China and leave a united, U.S.-backed Korea on its bor­der.

Asked about the state of ties, Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said Mon­day that it was nor­mal to en­counter “some is­sues in the process of de­vel­op­ing the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship.”

China’s U.N. am­bas­sador also ad­dressed the sit­u­a­tion on Mon­day, say­ing that if ten­sions es­ca­late fur­ther with North Korea, “the con­se­quences would be dis­as­trous.”

Liu Jieyi ex­pressed hope that key na­tions will sup­port China’s pro­posal to de-es­ca­late ten­sions on the Korean Peninsula.

He re­it­er­ated at a news con­fer­ence that an im­por­tant part of the pro­posal is “sus­pen­sion for sus­pen­sion,” which would see North Korea halt nu­clear and mis­sile test­ing, and the United States and South Korea stop mil­i­tary ex­er­cises. North Korea’s U.N. Am­bas­sador Kim In Ry­ong said last week that North Korea and the United States came closer to nu­clear war than ever be­fore over joint U.S.-South Korea mil­i­tary ex­er­cises in April and May.

Liu, who holds the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil pres­i­dency this month, said China’s three­part pro­posal — sus­pen­sion-for-sus­pen­sion, achiev­ing de­nu­cle­ariza­tion along with “a se­cu­rity mech­a­nism for the Korean Peninsula at the same time,” and re­plac­ing the ar­mistice that ended the Korean War with a peace agree­ment — ad­dress all the ma­jor con­cerns in the re­gion.

While Liu didn’t re­fer to any coun­try when he ex­pressed hope that “other par­ties will be more forth­com­ing” in ac­cept­ing the pack­age

China out­lined, an­a­lysts said his com­ment ap­peared to be aimed at the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has made clear that it first wants to see signs that North Korea is start­ing to dis­man­tle its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams.

Liu also crit­i­cized the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to im­pose sanc­tions on the Bank of Dan­dong. The U.S. ac­cuses the bank of fa­cil­i­tat­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in trans­ac­tions to ben­e­fit North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram.

“We have al­ways been op­posed to uni­lat­eral sanc­tions out­side the frame­work of the United Na­tions,” Liu said. “We do not see that as the right thing to do.”

The sanc­tions sever the bank en­tirely from the U.S. fi­nan­cial sys­tem, pend­ing a 60day re­view pe­riod. The bank is based in Dan­dong, China’s largest city on the bor­der with North Korea, and its es­ti­mated $10.7 bil­lion in as­sets are com­pa­ra­ble in size to Arkansas’ Home Banc­Shares.

How­ever, Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe of Ja­pan praised the sanc­tions, ac­cord­ing to Ky­odo News.

Trump spoke for 35 min­utes on Mon­day with Abe about North Korea. They high­lighted “their unity with re­spect to in­creas­ing pres­sure on the regime to change its dan­ger­ous path,” the ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

The Ja­panese news agency said Trump and Abe agreed to dis­cuss the North Korean sit­u­a­tion with South Korea’s new pres­i­dent, Moon Jae-in, on the side­lines of the Group of 20 sum­mit meet­ing in Ger­many, which starts Fri­day.

SIDE­LINE TALKS AT G-20

Trump and Xi are also ex­pected to meet pri­vately dur­ing the G-20 sum­mit. It will be one of at least nine meet­ings the U.S. pres­i­dent will have with for­eign lead­ers while in Ham­burg, in­clud­ing a meet­ing with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on the side­lines in Ham­burg.

Russia isn’t ex­pect­ing any im­me­di­ate break­throughs at the first meet­ing be­tween the two pres­i­dents, though Russia hopes the two lead­ers can get off to a good start that lets them be­gin tack­ling thorny is­sues, Putin’s top for­eign pol­icy aide said.

“We un­der­stand that it’s com­pli­cated, that re­la­tions with Russia have be­come hostage to the in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal squab­bles in the U.S., but so what? It’s hard for us too. But we want to and will work to­gether with Amer­ica,” Putin ad­viser Yuri Ushakov told re­porters on Mon­day. “Re­la­tions have to be taken out of the state they’re cur­rently in.”

Putin and Trump plan to dis­cuss the con­flicts in Syria and Ukraine and the fight against ter­ror­ism as well as a dis­pute over Rus­sian diplo­matic prop­erty seized in De­cem­ber, the of­fi­cial said.

Putin’s hopes of im­proved ties promised by Trump be­fore the elec­tion have run into fierce re­sis­tance in Wash­ing­ton, as the U.S. pres­i­dent grap­ples with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in De­cem­ber ex­pelled 35 Rus­sian diplo­mats and shut down two diplo­matic com­pounds out­side New York and Wash­ing­ton in re­tal­i­a­tion for the Kremlin’s in­ter­fer­ence — prop­er­ties the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment wants back.

Russia’s am­bas­sador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, met with Un­der­sec­re­tary of State Thomas Shan­non on Mon­day to dis­cuss the two pres­i­dents’ meet­ing as well as “ar­eas of mu­tual con­cern,” the State De­part­ment said in a state­ment. Russia can­celed planned talks last month be­tween Shan­non and Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Ryabkov in Russia in re­sponse to the U.S. ex­pan­sion of sanc­tions over the con­flict in Ukraine.

The tone of two lead­ers’ first face-to-face en­counter will be crit­i­cal, Ushakov said, not­ing that no spe­cific agree­ments have yet been pre­pared.

“As I see it, the at­mos­phere it­self of the meet­ing can al­low us to re­solve many is­sues, in­clud­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the in­ter­na­tional field and bi­lat­eral top­ics,” he said. “It’s re­ally im­por­tant. Ev­ery­one is wait­ing for it.”

White House of­fi­cials said Trump would also re­it­er­ate the U.S. com­mit­ment to NATO’s Ar­ti­cle 5 dur­ing the sum­mit. The ar­ti­cle says an at­tack on one mem­ber is an at­tack on all — an agree­ment Trump en­dorsed last month.

The pres­i­dent is also ex­pected to cite the need to de­velop “a com­mon ap­proach to Russia,” White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser H.R. McMaster said.

“He’d like the United States and the en­tire West to de­velop a more con­struc­tive re­la­tion­ship with Russia,” McMaster said. “But he’s also made clear that we will do what is nec­es­sary to con­front Russia’s desta­bi­liz­ing be­hav­ior.”

Trump late Mon­day called on China to help with North Korea af­ter re­ports that the North had launched a bal­lis­tic mis­sile that landed in the Sea of Ja­pan.

In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Christo­pher Bodeen, Edith M. Led­erer, Ken Thomas and Dar­lene Su­perville of The As­so­ci­ated Press; by Si­mon Denyer and Thomas Gibbons-Neff of The Wash­ing­ton Post; by Javier C. Her­nan­dez, Motoko Rich, Rick Glad­stone and Iris Zhao of The New York Times; and by Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer of Bloomberg News.

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