North Korea To Reinforce Defenses after Syria Missile Strike
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 20, 2017,
Apr 20, 2017, 19:02
President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping wrapped up their first summit by announcing a 100-day plan to improve strained trade ties, the only tangible announcement after their meetings that were overshadowed by the U.S. military strikes in Syria.
As the two leaders wrapped up a Florida summit overshadowed by USA missile strikes in Syria overnight, Xi joined Trump in stressing the positive mood of the meetings while papering over deep differences that have caused friction between the world's two biggest economies.
But the two days of talks at Trump's private estate in Florida were expected to focus on what Trump has described as China's unfair trade practices and inadequate efforts to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile program.
Trade remains Trump's chief grouse against China, which has a trade surplus of $347 billion with the United States, and he, as presidential candidate, had accused China of cheating, by manipulating their currency, and had once even accused China of "raping" the US.
"We have a thousand reasons to get China-US relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-US relationship", Xi told Trump.
Similarly, though US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters after the summit that Trump and Xi had held productive and "very comprehensive" discussions on the North Korean issue, the overall prognosis for greater US-China cooperation on the issue remains grim.
Trump has previously criticized China's handling of North Korea, telling Reuters in March he was "not liking" the dynamic, adding, "I know exactly what's going on between China and North Korea and everybody else". Absolutely nothing. But we have developed a friendship. "For the peace and stability of the world, we will also fulfill our historical responsibility".
The two leaders also agreed on the "urgency of the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons program" and agreed to work together to resolve the issue "peacefully", Tillerson said.
In his first televised interview, H.R. McMaster pointed to dual US goals of defeating the Islamic State group and removing Assad.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday said the two sides agreed to speed up trade talks to help close a lopsided imbalance in China's favour, a common campaign-trail complaint of Trump's.
Pyongyang considers Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's government as an ally, experts, however, caution that Kim Jong-Un has the capability to counter any military provocation.
Trump and the First Lady remain at Mar-a-Lago, and roads remain closed surrounding the resort.
It discussed Mr. Xi's state visit to Finland, followed by his tête-à-tête in Palm Springs, Fla., with Mr. Trump.
A much heavier risk would be required to take military action against the nuclear-armed North, which has its artillery and missiles trained on a key USA ally, South Korea.
The White House 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. -China summit was upstaged by USA missile strikes overnight against a Syrian air base from which Trump said a deadly chemical weapon attack had been launched earlier in the week.
China says it is in full compliance with sanctions enacted under U.N. Security Council resolutions.
As Xi left Mar-a-Lago, what became clear is that hard work in US-China relations in the Trump era still lies ahead.
The U.S. announced the missile barrage shortly after Trump and Xi wrapped up dinner Thursday.
The United States are involved insofar as their allies expect support and in order to safeguard the freedom of navigation in the area.
After the meeting, Trump took Xi on a walk around the manicured grounds of his lavish Spanish-style complex. Trump jokingly said he agrees with whatever Xi said.
In September 2015, the Chinese president's trip to the United States coincided with the first visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. The day before Xi arrived in Washington for talks with President Barack Obama, the pope addressed Congress, an honor not afforded to the president of the world's most populous country.