Trump, Xi prepare for difficult talks on trade, North Korea

US President Donald Trump will hold face-to-face talks with China's leader Xi Jinping for the first time at the billionaire's Mar-a-Lago private members' club in Florida on Thursday (6 April).

With a pair of broad smiles, the leaders of the world's two biggest economies shook hands at the president's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach. We'll be talking about trade and the economic relationship.

While Mr Trump would not say what he wants China to do specifically with regard to North Korea, he suggested there was a link between "terrible" trade agreements the US has made with China and Pyongyang's provocations.

Ahead of the critical showdown, President Trump vowed to deliver an ultimatum to his Chinese counterpart, saying if China didn't act on North Korea, "we will".

Trade is the foremost item on the bill and Mr Trump's criticism of China has been a centrepiece of his policy throughout his campaign.

Trump brought his top economic and national advisers to Florida for the meeting, including Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Interestingly, for many folks here, the wild card at this summit in this North Korean conflict is not the Chinese President or North Korea's menacing leader Kim Jong-Un.

The United States and South Korea agreed on Thursday to proceed with the deployment of an advanced USA missile defense system that has angered China, a day after North Korea's latest test launch drew condemnation across the volatile region.

In the wake of the missile test, US General Jack Keane said bombing North Korea "may be the only option left".

South Korea has successfully test-fired a home-developed ballistic missile with a range long enough to hit any part of North Korea, Yonhap news agency reported today.

The White House has downplayed expectations for a breakthrough on issues like trade and tariffs, insisting that the 24-hour summit is mostly an introductory meeting for the two leaders.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump said the United States would go it alone and he did not need China's help to "solve" North Korea, but with China accounting for 90 per cent of North Korea's external trade, having China on side sure would help. The US believes the system will discourage North Korea from attacking its neighbor.

Mr. Trump gave up the position of club president before inauguration. If political winds start to shift, there could be a lot of disruption in this area-an important source of income for USA farmers, some of Trump's most enthusiastic voters who also stand to lose the most if the president follows through on his campaign rhetoric.

But Trump did not make good on his promises to formally declare China a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency.

The new sanctions are aimed at the country's metalworking, aerospace and arms-related industries, and services in computing, mining, chemicals and refining, the bloc said in a statement. After Tuesday's missile launch by the North, Tillerson issued an unusually blunt statement saying the United States "has spoken enough about North Korea".

North Korea's foreign ministry on Monday assailed Washington for its tough talk and for an ongoing joint military exercise with South Korea and Japan which Pyongyang sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

USA officials said the missile launched on Wednesday appeared to be a liquid-fueled, extended-range Scud missile that only traveled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control.

"I would use trade, absolutely, as a bargaining chip".

  • Zachary Reyes