‘Something has to be done about N. Korea, one way or another’ – Trump to Xi at G20

‘Something has to be done about N. Korea, one way or another’ – Trump to Xi at G20
US President Donald Trump said he had an “excellent” meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Hamburg, despite speculation of growing tensions between the two powers over how to deal with North Korea.

“Leaving Hamburg for Washington, D.C. and the WH. Just left China’s President Xi where we had an excellent meeting on trade & North Korea,” Trump tweeted late Saturday.

The US and China are developing a “wonderful relationship,” Trump told his counterpart, according to the White House transcript of the introductory remarks ahead of the meeting on the margins of the two-day international summit in Germany – which mistakenly named Xi the president of Taiwan, instead of China.

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Details of the meeting are sparse, but it most likely focused heavily on trade relations and the North Korean question. As in the leaders’ previous discussions in April, Pyongyang, which launched its most altitudinous-ever ballistic missile test earlier this week, dominated.

“I appreciate the things that you have done relative to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea, a problem that something has to be done about,” Trump told Xi in the full glare of the media.

“It may take longer than I'd like, it may take longer than you'd like. But there will be success in the end one way or the other,” said the US President.

Trump, who plans a state visit to China later this year, also flagged up his favored issue of America’s trade deficit with China.

“Trade, as you know, is a very, very big issue for the United States now. Because over the years and – it’s really been over a long period of time many things have happened that have led to trade imbalances. And we're going to turn that around. And I know that with China in particular which is a great trading partner, we will be able to do something that will be equitable and reciprocal.”

According to China’s state agency Xinhua, Xi welcomed“new progress” achieved since Xi’s Mar-a-Lago visit, but that does not necessarily align Beijing with Washington’s strategy for the region.

Xi said, in turn, that Beijing is determined to strengthen ties with Washington. Next year, the Chinese military will join the US-run Pacific Rim (RIMPAC) exercise, he said, according to state news agency Xinhua.

In 2016, RIMPAC involved 27 nations providing 45 surface ships, five submarines, over 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel, according to the US Navy. The massive naval maneuvers take place in the waters between Hawaii and Southern California. 

On North Korea, Xi noted that Pyongyang has “violated UN Security Council resolutions” with its nuclear and missile tests over the past year. But, he said, “the international community should also increase efforts in promoting dialogue and controlling the situation.”

The US has insisted on the international isolation of Kim Jong-un, and has implored China, Pyongyang’s main ally, to put pressure on the regime to stop its weapons program.

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According to North Korean media, the intercontinental ballistic missile launched by North Korea Thursday, reached an altitude of 2,802 km, and was theoretically capable of reaching Alaska. While the US and its allies assessed that an ICBM test indeed took place, the Russian military believes the tested projectile was likely a medium range missile.

Xi insisted that Washington and Beijing “respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and properly address differences and sensitive issues,” a reference to the status Taiwan, the South China Sea dispute, the placement of US THAAD missile defense system in South Korea – to which Xi openly objected to in his statement – as well as Pyongyang’s potential nuclear capabilities.

But the Chinese leader “stressed that the two countries should stick to mutual respect and win-win cooperation, expand practical cooperation in various fields and strengthen coordination on international and regional issues.”

Among the other practical steps confirmed by China after the bilateral, was a planned exchange visit of defense ministers “as soon as possible” and joint military drills between the two navies in the 2018 Pacific Rim exercises.