Ivanka Trump's children serenade Xi Jinping in Mandarin

The Massachusetts Democrat's plan, outlined in a letter that was sent to Trump on the eve of his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, suggests that the United States should agree to direct talks with North Korea in exchange for China's commitment to drastically escalate sanctions against Pyongyang if they fail to negotiate in good faith. While it has not fired missiles against other countries, it has vowed strong action - including missile attacks against South Korea - if it is invaded by the South and the US.

The pro-independence Liberty Times said Trump was "shaking hands with Xi Jinping with his left hand and launching missiles with his right" to pressure China to rein in North Korea.

"President Trump noted the challenges caused by Chinese government intervention in its economy and raised serious concerns about the impact of China's industrial, agricultural, technology and cyber policies on U.S. jobs and exports", it said. It has conducted five nuclear tests, two since the beginning of previous year, and scores of missile tests.

Many Republican members of Congress welcomed the more forceful stance against North Korea, but there was disagreement in the Democratic ranks.

South Korean and USA forces are also involved in annual joint military drills that run until the end of April.

According to the state-sanctioned North Korean news outlet KCNA, a foreign ministry spokesperson for the government of Kim Jong-un said, "Swaggering as a superpower, the USA has been picking only on countries without nuclear weapons and the Trump administration is no exception".

Along with its rapidly advancing nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, North Korea has its artillery and short-range missiles trained on Seoul, the capital of USA ally South Korea.

On the commerce front, another focal point of the summit, both leaders agreed to develop a "100-day plan" for rectifying the issue of trade imbalance. President of China Xi Jinping clarified the firm Chinese position that the country opposes the use of chemical weapon.

"It signals to Pyongyang that the United States has a new sheriff in town who isn't hesitant about pulling his gun from the holster", Kim said.

With some observers now talking about the possibility of US military action against North Korea, a lawmaker from Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Sunday said such a scenario was unlikely as a military strike against the North could precipitate a nuclear attack on the South or Japan. The two leaders also agreed to strengthen cooperation over the problem of North Korea developing nuclear arms and missiles.

Agreeing to negotiate directly with North Korea would signal a drastic shift from former President Barack Obama's policy in dealing with the provocative nation.

It is thought Pyongyang is ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test at any time, with movements detected by satellites at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

  • Leroy Wright