Trump, al­lies fo­cus on N. Korea

Pres­i­dent meets with Chinese, Ja­panese lead­ers in Ger­many.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Ken Thomas and Darlene Superville

HAMBURG, GER­MANY» Wrap­ping up his sec­ond Euro­pean tour, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump searched for consensus with Asian al­lies Satur­day on how to counter the “men­ace” of North Korea after its test-launch of an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

“Some­thing has to be done about it,” Trump said as he met with Chinese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping. In a sep­a­rate meet­ing with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, Trump said the two were tack­ling “the prob­lem and men­ace of North Korea.”

The White House said after the meet­ing with Abe that the U.S. was “pre­pared to use the full range of ca­pa­bil­i­ties” in de­fense of Ja­pan. Trump and Abe com­mit­ted, the White House said, “to re­dou­bling their ef­forts to bring all na­tions to­gether to show North Korea that there are con­se­quences for its threat­en­ing and un­law­ful ac­tions.”

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has tried to press Beijing to rein in North Korea, a ma­jor trad­ing part­ner of China, and halt Kim Jong Un’s de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons be­fore they can threaten U.S. ter­ri­tory. Trump has voiced his frus­tra­tion in re­cent days that China hasn’t done more, sug­gest­ing he may take steps of his own.

But dur­ing his meet­ing, Trump told Xi, “I ap­pre­ci­ate the things that you have done rel­a­tive to the very sub­stan­tial prob­lem that we all face in North Korea.”

Xi said dur­ing the meet­ing that

“sen­si­tive is­sues re­main” in the China-u.s. re­la­tion­ship and more work needed to be done. But he said he had built with Trump a “close con­tact.”

Trump’s ex­ten­sive slate of meet­ings with Abe, Xi, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and oth­ers came on the fi­nal day of the an­nual Group of Twenty sum­mit, which has been marked by vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions by anti-glob­al­iza­tion ac­tivists. Trump also had a brief, un­sched­uled meet­ing with Turkey’s pres­i­dent, Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, about the sit­u­a­tion in Syria.

Abe, speak­ing through a trans­la­tor, noted that the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion has be­come “in­creas­ingly se­vere” due to North Korea’s push to de­velop its bal­lis­tic mis­sile and nu­clear pro­gram. Abe said he wanted to “demon­strate the ro­bust part­ner­ship as well as the bonds” be­tween Ja­pan and the U.S. on the is­sue.

North Korea’s suc­cess­ful test launch of an ICBM was a mile­stone in its long-term ef­fort to build a mis­sile that could carry a nu­clear war­head to at­tack the United States.

The is­sue was a fre­quent topic of dis­cus­sion at the sum­mit, and the White House said ear­lier that the U.S., South Korea and Ja­pan were press­ing for ad­di­tional mea­sures against North Korea to demon­strate the “se­ri­ous con­se­quences” for its lat­est provo­ca­tions.

The three na­tions have been calling for “early adop­tion” of a new U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion and ad­di­tional sanc­tions to demon­strate to Py­ongyang the con­se­quences of its ac­tions.

Bring­ing China on board is a key part of the plan. The ad­min­is­tra­tion wants China to fully en­force in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions in­tended to starve Py­ongyang of rev­enue for its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams. But Trump has been dis­sat­is­fied with China’s re­sponse.

Ear­lier in the week, he vented on Twit­ter that trade be­tween China and North Korea had grown nearly 40 per­cent at the start of 2017. “So much for China work­ing with us — but we had to give it a try!”

Trump of­fi­cials said later that the pres­i­dent hadn’t given up on the re­la­tion­ship.

Trade was also a key part of the dis­cus­sions. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of putting new bar­ri­ers on steel im­ports based on na­tional se­cu­rity con­sid­er­a­tions, a move that could tar­get China, which has flooded in­ter­na­tional mar­kets with cheap steel ex­ports.

“Many things have hap­pened that have led to trade im­bal­ances and we’re go­ing to turn that around,” Trump said dur­ing the meet­ing with Xi. Trump said he wanted a new ar­range­ment that is “eq­ui­table” and “re­cip­ro­cal.”

Ear­lier, Trump said Satur­day he had a “tremen­dous meet­ing” with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Fri­day, his first com­ments on the talks with the Rus­sian leader. Trump raised the is­sue of Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 elec­tions and dis­cussed plans for a cease-fire agree­ment in Syria.

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said Fri­day that Trump and Putin had a “ro­bust and lengthy” dis­cus­sion about Rus­sian elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence but Putin de­nied any in­volve­ment.

Putin, in a news con­fer­ence Satur­day, of­fered his ver­sion of events and said he thought Trump be­lieved his in-per­son de­nials of Rus­sian med­dling. White House of­fi­cials trav­el­ing aboard Air Force One did not dis­pute that ac­count.

Tiller­son, who took part in the meet­ing, said Trump had been “rightly fo­cused on how do we move for­ward from some­thing that may be an in­tractable dis­agree­ment at this point?”

Trump also joined a women’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial fi­nance event, a project spear­headed by his daugh­ter and se­nior ad­viser, Ivanka Trump. He lauded his daugh­ter’s ef­forts to help fe­male en­trepreneurs, jok­ing that “if she weren’t my daugh­ter, it would be so much eas­ier for her.”

Trump was fly­ing back to Washington on Satur­day night after the con­clu­sion of the an­nual G20 meet­ings. He won’t be state­side for long: The pres­i­dent is sched­uled to re­turn to Europe next week to at­tend Bastille Day cel­e­bra­tions in Paris.

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