Trump explained US position on THAAD to Xi - South Korea

-China summit has been upstaged, however, by USA missile strikes overnight against a Syrian air base from which Trump said a deadly chemical weapon attack had been launched.

Trump had said he meant to raise concerns about China's trade practices and press Xi to do more to rein in North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

Trump said he wanted to raise concerns about China's trade practices and press Xi to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions during his two-day visit to the Spanish-style Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, though no major deals on either issue are expected. In an effort to make gains for USA manufacturing workers, Trump may use the summit to push for more Chinese investment in American infrastructure.

In the immediate aftermath of the US airstrike against Syria, which took place during the summit, the two leaders probably had deep disagreements, including over the use of military force against a recalcitrant Pyongyang. The surprise strike marks a reversal for Trump, who had warned during the presidential campaign against the USA getting pulled into the Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year.

China is not involved militarily in the Syria conflict but has previously sided with Russian Federation at the United Nations, arguing against the condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The US has said it wants China to take the lead on bringing North Korea, over which it has "great influence", but is prepared to go it alone.

Xi and Trump also discussed China's increased militarization in the South China Sea, with President Trump urging the Chinese to adhere to global norms.

The two are said to have gotten straight to business, talking about North Korea and Trump's request for China's help with ending their testing of nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, any military action against North Korea would be substantially more hard and risky.

Trump has long said North Korea is China's problem to fix, criticizing Beijing for refusing to use its influence over Pyongyang.

The U.S. announced the missile attack shortly after Xi and his wife left the Mar-a-Lago estate Thursday night. Trump reportedly informed Xi about the attack after a dinner on Thursday. The official Xinhua News Agency said Trump will travel to China at an "early date" in 2017, but gave no details.

Trump has repeatedly hammered China for exporting more to the US than it buys.

Trump, in his talks with Xi, "also noted the importance of protecting human rights and other values deeply held by Americans", he said in a statement, voanews.com reported.

Xi was expected to seek assurances that Trump will not interfere in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea or question the "One China" policy by reaching out to Taiwan's leader again, as Trump did during the transition. The US and China share a commitment to a denuclearized Korean peninsula and will cooperate more to obtain that goal.

  • Leroy Wright