North Korea, trade deficit top Trump's agenda in China

09 Nov,2017


Beijing, BdChronicle:

The standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons and demands that China do more to balance trade with America will dominate President Donald Trump's agenda in Beijing.

Trump's meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping will be grander than their informal April talks at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. That visit was most memorable for Trump informing Xi about ordering a missile strike on Syria while they ate a dessert of chocolate cake.

Officials from both sides say Trump has forged a personal connection with Xi, and Chinese officials have said they expect the leaders to continue to have "in-depth, constructive, friendly and productive" talks.

Xi was named last month to a second five-year term as the leader of China's Communist Party at a congress that elevated his status as China's most powerful leader in decades. In a recent interview, Trump likened Xi to "a king."

A look at the thorny issues the two leaders will likely discuss:


China is North Korea's chief trading partner and source of aid and diplomatic support, and Trump has pressed for Beijing to take more forceful measures against Pyongyang.

China has already agreed to tough new U.N. penalties that would substantially cut foreign revenue for the isolated North. It has ordered North Korean-owned businesses and ventures with Chinese partners to close by early January. China also has promised to cut off gas and limit shipments of refined petroleum products, effective Jan. 1.

Beijing, however, adamantly opposes steps that could bring down North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's government. Thus China has made no mention of crude oil, which makes up the bulk of Chinese energy supplies to North Korea and is not covered by U.N. sanctions.

China argues that sanctions alone cannot solve the impasse, and has urged Washington to cool its rhetoric and open a dialogue with North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters last month that Washington has lines of communication to Pyongyang.

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