Global stocks mostly lower as markets await Trump-Xi summit

Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile on April 5, just ahead of a highly-anticipated China-US summit at which Pyongyang's weapons program is set to top the agenda.

The inclusion of Mattis and Tillerson, who arrived separately from the president, earlier in the day underscores the importance that security issues related to North Korean missile tests will play in the series of meetings scheduled to run until Friday afternoon.

North Korea now has the strength to "wipe out" the United States "in a moment" with an H-bomb, the editorial said.

On Sunday, Trump held out the possibility of using trade as a lever to secure Chinese cooperation, while suggesting Washington might deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes on its own if need be. The White House said the location was selected to give the two days of discussions a more relaxed feel, but the meeting kicked off amid suggestions the Trump administration was considering military action against Syria as it deliberated on how to respond to a chemical attack. US national security adviser H. R. McMaster spoke by phone with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin on Thursday.

The United States began deploying the first elements of the THAAD system in South Korea last month, despite angry opposition from China.

During the conversation, Abe and Trump also stressed that China has a key role in persuading North Korea to put an end to its missile and nuclear weapons programmes. As a result, the UN Security Council tightened the sanctions regime for North Korea in an attempt to force Pyongyang to stop ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests, including imposing a measure meant to affect the country's trade, export of natural resources, arms trade and banking sector.

Warning the USA could act alone, President Donald Trump has vowed to deliver an ultimatum to Chinese leader Xi Jinping to rein in North Korea when the two men come face-to-face for the first time this week. The North has defied the ban, saying it infringes on its sovereign rights to self-defence and the pursuit of space exploration.

"We have not in any way put the kind of sanctions on North Korea that we have the ability to do", the USA administration official said.

North Korea has been accused of violating UN Security Council resolutions and of creating a "grave threat to global peace and security in the region and beyond".

Because Wednesday's missile only traveled 60 kilometers horizontally, USA officials deemed the launch a failure, but the Lowy Institute suggested otherwise.

Military officials in the United States and South Korea had initially said assessments indicated it had been a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile, the same kind North Korea test-launched in February.

  • Leroy Wright