US President Donald Trump continued his Asia tour with a day of meetings with Chinese officials. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country will persist with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and solving the issue through talks.
Discussion on how to deal with North Korea’s threats to the region has dominated Trump’s agenda during the twelve-day diplomatic mission, and China is considered Pyongyang’s main economic supporter.
Trump: Problem could be solved easily and quickly
Trump said China could fix the problem of North Korea’s nuclear program “easily and quickly”.
“I am calling on President Xi to work very hard. I know one thing about your president. If he works on it hard, it’ll get done,” US President said.
Xi, for his part, said both sides would continue to work towards fully implementing UN sanctions and enduring peace on the Korean peninsula. Beijing has implemented part of the sanctions, limited trade with Pyongyang, and seized some of the assets in their banks. The Chinese government is saying they are doing their best to ease the tensions.
Trump has previously been more critical towards Beijing’s handling of the Korean crisis, but relations seem to have warmed up in the previous weeks, with China taking a tougher stance on Kim Jong-un’s regime and a lavish welcome to the American delegation in Beijing.
Economic deals worth 250 billion dollars
The two presidents headlined an economic summit with businessmen from both countries. The quarter of a trillion dollar haul underscores how Trump is keen to be seen to address a trade deficit with the world’s second-largest economy that he has long railed against and called “shockingly high” on Thursday.
“I don’t blame China – after all, who can blame a country for taking advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens. I give China great credit,” Trump said while addressing a room of business leaders.
Watched by Trump and Xi at a signing ceremony in Beijing, US planemaker Boeing, General Electric and chip giant Qualcomm sealed lucrative multi-billion dollar deals.
“This is truly a miracle,” China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at a briefing in Beijing.
Other huge deals were also announced. Among them is a 20-year 83.7 billion dollars investment by China Energy Investment Corp in shale gas developments and chemical manufacturing projects in West Virginia, a major energy producing state that voted heavily for Trump in the 2016 election.
“The massive size of this energy undertaking and level of collaboration between our two countries is unprecedented,” West Virginia Secretary of Commerce H. Wood Thrasher said in a statement.
It marks the first major overseas investment for the newly founded China Energy, which formed from the merger of China Shenhua Group, the country’s largest coal producer and China Guodian Corporation, one of China’s top five utilities.
Xi: Opening of Chinese economy
Speaking alongside Trump in Beijing as they announced the deals, Xi said the Chinese economy would become increasingly open and transparent to foreign firms, including those from the United States, and welcomed U.S. companies to participate in his ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure-led initiative.
“The China-US relationship now stands at a new starting point. China is willing to work with the United States to enhance cooperation and properly manage differences in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual benefit,” Xi said.
Xi smiled widely when Trump said he does not blame China for the deficit.