Donald Trump wraps up talks with Xi Jinping, signs $250 bn worth deals; makes little headway on North Korea

Beijing: US president Donald Trump on Thursday wrapped up two days of intense talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as both sides inked deals worth over $250 billion but doubts lingered about any headway over his efforts to push Beijing to take strong action to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.

On the second day of his visit, which was marked by lavish red-carpet welcome with an impressive guard of honour by the Chinese military troops, Trump continued his overnight talks with Xi at the Great Hall of People in Beijing.

"Just now, the President and I witnessed the signing of some major cooperation agreements by our businesses. During this visit, the two sides signed over $250 billion of commercial deals and two-way investment agreements," Xi said summing up his talks with Trump, who has been accusing China of not doing enough to address the massive $370 billion bilateral trade deficit.

China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said the two sides signed deals worth some $253.4 billion over the past two days. "This is truly a miracle," Zhong told the media.

On pressuring North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un to halt his nuclear and missile programmes, which was Trump's main agenda of the maiden visit, Xi reiterated China's stand that Beijing is faithfully implementing the UNSC resolutions.

China is North Korea's close ally and top trading partner.

"On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, we reiterated the firm commitment to achieving denuclearisation of the Peninsula and upholding international non-proliferation regime," Xi said.

US president Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shakes hands during a joint press conference in Beijing. AP

US president Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shakes hands during a joint press conference in Beijing. AP

The two sides will continue to fully and strictly implement the UN Security Council resolutions. At the same time, the two sides commit to working toward a solution through dialogue and negotiation, he said.

On the South China Sea dispute, Xi said, "the Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the US".

China claims sovereignty on almost all of the South China Sea which is disputed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. The US has been accusing China of violating international rules and norms by laying claims on the disputed South and East China seas.

Importantly for the South Asian region, Xi said Afghanistan, where US is increasing its presence and pressuring China's close ally Pakistan to rein in the Taliban, also figured in their talks.

For his part, Trump lavished praise on Xi saying "your people are proud of who they are and what they have built together, and your people are also very proud of you".

In apparent reference to North Korea, he said, "as long as we stand together — with others, if necessary — against those who threaten our civilisation. That threat will never happen. It doesn't even have a chance."

He called on China to work "very hard" on the issue, including cutting banking ties with Pyongyang.

"If you work on it hard, it will happen. There is no doubt about it," Trump said. "Time is quickly running out, we must act fast, and hopefully China will act faster."

On Afghanistan, Trump said, "in order to create a more secure future for all and to protect our citizens from extremism and terrorism, President Xi and I also committed to working toward a peaceful future for Afghanistan. Terrorists are a threat to all of humanity, and we will stop radical Islamic terrorism."

Summing up on the outcome of talks on North Korea, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the media that "the key topic of discussion was our continued joint effort to increase pressure on North Korea, to convince them to abandon their nuclear and missile programme".

"Both leaders affirmed their commitment to achieve a complete, verifiable, and permanent denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump and President Xi will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea," he said.

The US president has made it clear the need to not just maintain the current peaceful pressure efforts, but to do even more, the official said.

Trump also had a candid conversation about the bilateral economic relationship. He called for China to give fair and reciprocal treatment to US companies and exports to reduce the US trade deficit and rebalance the economic relationship, the secretary of state said.

Trump later met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and attended a business event with Xi followed by state dinner.

He is in China as part of a five-nation tour of Asia. He has already visited South Korea and Japan.

Trump will fly to Vietnam on Friday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).


Updated Date: Nov 09, 2017 18:49 PM

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