China talks more about optics than substance

"We've had a long discussion already, and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing", the US President conceded playfully yesterday after initial talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

During the second day of the summit, Friday, Trump said he developed an "outstanding" relationship with Xi and made "tremendous progress" on issues, according to the White House.

Speaking alongside Trump, Xi said the two delegations discussed important topics and established a good friendship and working relationship.

The leaders met amid a host of thorny issues, including regional maritime disputes, Chinese base building in disputed islands, and the recent deployment of a USA air defense system to South Korea that Beijing fears could be used for espionage.

By all reports, the meetings between the two leaders were constructive and cordial with a frank exchange of views, according to the BBC.

The swift action in Syria could be interpreted as a signal especially to defiant nuclear-armed North Korea - and by extension, its ally China - as well as other countries like Iran and Russian Federation of Trump's willingness to use military force.

"I suspect Xi will treat Trump's threat against North Korea as more serious than before this, provided the behind the scenes body language does not counteract it", Douglas H. Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The New York Times. Trump jokingly said he agrees with whatever Xi said.

The Pentagon insider said: "We have 20 years of diplomacy and sanctions under our belt that has failed to stop the North Korean program".

In a possible harbinger of the kind of punishments Washington could inflict, a leading Chinese telecoms company, ZTE, was fined almost $900 million in March for shipping sensitive USA -made technology to Iran in violation of US sanctions. Within Trump's administration, divisions remain over how to approach China.

"I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away".

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that "any solution to the North Korea problem has to involve China".

Trump and as other world leaders have blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime for the attack, saying, "there can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the United Nations security counsel".

Last week, President Trump tweeted that his meeting with the Chinese president "will be a very hard one"-not a surprising prediction given Trump once accused China of having "raped the USA", but apparently an incorrect one".

In a coincidence we all hope isn't prophetic, the U.S. entered World War One exactly 100 years ago on the day Trump ordered the military intervention in Syria.

However, the talks produced progress in Trump's efforts to reduce the trade deficit with the world's No. 2 economy.

The highly anticipated U.S.

Agence France-Presse quoted unidentified sources as saying that there was talk of a package of Chinese investments aimed at creating more than 700,000 American jobs - the same number China's regional rival Japan pledged during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's own Mar-a-Lago visit in February. They began landing at around 8:40 p.m. ET (00:40 GMT), just as the two presidents were finishing their meals.

The surprise Tomahawk missile strikes, which came in response to Syria's use of deadly chemical weapons against civilians earlier this week, was seen as a powerful message to North Korea, Iran and other rogue states that Trump can take military action against them at any time.

How tough can the United States be on China on trade?

  • Leroy Wright