Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Trump in China for talks as North Korea nuclear tensions grow

Trump in China for talks as North Korea nuclear tensions grow

US President Donald Trump broke through China's "Great Firewall" on Wednesday as he posted messages on Twitter during his visit to the country, which has banned the website. "I love you!" after a Peking Opera performance at the former imperial palace. Trump's own description of Xi as a "king" of China was perceived by some observers as outright flattery.

Earlier, Trump congratulated Xi for his reappointment as China's Communist Party chief, tweeting: "I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory".

Trump has made narrowing the multibillion-dollar USA trade deficit with China a priority for his administration - and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday the deals were a step in the right direction.

While Trump condemned the authorities, he also made overtures to leader Kim Jong-un, who has overseen rapid advances in its weapons technology.

As they exited Air Force One, Trump and first lady Melania Trump were met by Chinese and American dignitaries, soldiers standing stiffly at attention, a band playing martial music and smartly attired children waving miniature Chinese and American flags while chanting, "Welcome, welcome".

"Without China doing what they need to do we're not going to get to a peaceful solution to this problem", a senior USA official said. He also threatened to punish China for manipulating the value of its currency. "With President Trump, they think that the state-visit plus treatment will impress him and buy China some good will", Bonnie Glaser, China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told AFP.

Trump has offered no signs that his stance on China has changed or that he views the Asian powerhouse as less destructive to USA manufacturing or threatening to the US' continued economic dominance.

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Trump also gave a preview to his talks with Xi.

She added that "the biggest fear of the human rights community isn't that Trump will be silent about China's Internet controls and human rights record, but that he might say things that could be construed by the Chinese government and state-controlled media as supportive of Xi's approach". At least, he notes, the two countries' presidents "have established a good working relationship".

Both leaders say they have struck up a friendship since Trump treated Xi to a plush visit at the billionaire's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for their first meeting in April. The White House has recently announced its vision of a "free and open Indo-Pacific", apparently sending a rallying cry for Australia and India to take a stand against rising Chinese clout. China is North Korea's largest trading partner and Trump is expected to demand that the nation curtail its dealings with Pyongyang and expel North Korean workers from its borders.

Whether a country registers a trade surplus or deficit is largely decided by its role in the global division of labour and its development stage. "China is launching a charm offensive for sure but substantive issues such as trade and North Korea can come up later", says Beijing-based commentator Einar Tangen, in a conversation with The Hindu. Russian Federation will "never recognise North Korea" as a nuclear state, which puts Moscow and Washington in "close" positions, Ulyanov said.

"We'll find out how helpful soon", he said.

"You cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept", Trump said.

But, he stressed, "this issue can not be solved all by China's self".

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