'N Korea blasts US strikes on Syria, says justify nukes'

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump's first meetings underscored attempts by the two sides to avoid "strategic misjudgement" though differences remained over thorny issues like currency and trade, the state-run media said in a commentary today.

"(The U.S. president said that) he delivered Washington's stance to China over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea", it said.

The two governments have talked about establishing a "new high-level framework" for negotiations, but they're basically repackaging the existing process.

The only other foreign leader to be hosted at Mar-a-Lago during Trump's presidency so far is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close US ally. On Friday, the unpredictable Trump not only set a different tone but also avoided any public lapses in protocol that Chinese officials had feared could embarrass their leader.

"I think we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China", commented Trump.

We "arrived at many common understandings", Xi added, "the most important being deepening our friendship and building a kind of trust".

Regarding the biggest pending issue between them, North Korea, Trump and Xi managed only a pledge to strengthen cooperation toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

"Both the atmosphere, the chemistry between the two leaders was positive", said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a press briefing.

Following a second day of bilateral talks, press secretary Sean Spicer said both China and the US agreed to increase cooperation between the two superpowers to "convince North Korea to peacefully resolve the issue and dismantle its illegal nuclear and missile programs" and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in the Korean peninsula.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the children of Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner sang the traditional Chinese ballad "What a Beautiful Jasmine" as well as reciting ancient Chinese poems at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

At the end of the summit Friday, Xi departed Florida for a more northern vista, landing in Alaska and requesting time with Gov. Bill Walker during a refueling stop in Alaska's largest city. The Trump administration also has yet to fill many key foreign policy posts. Both the USA and China were keen to understand the other's positions at the first meeting of their leaders, and they had modest success, reaffirming the importance of keeping lines of communication open.

Trump upended the meeting by ordering the launch of dozens of cruise missiles at Syrian targets Thursday just before Xi's arrival in Florida. Trump told reporters the strike was in response to a nerve gas attack by the Syrian regime against civilians Tuesday.

Although China is not implicated in the Syrian war, Trump's actions resonate widely, not least in the debate over how to tackle North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Main points covered at the U.S.

- Agreed to resolve differences based on mutual respect, and expand areas of cooperation.

- Vowed cooperation to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program; recognized North Korea's nuclear program has reached a critical stage. But they offered no details about how they planned to achieve that.

"I do think it necessarily sends a signal to Xi Jinping that this is a president that means business", Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Guardian, adding, "It will play into how China will view Trump".

  • Leroy Wright