Xi, Trump exchange views on G20 summit, Korean Peninsula via phone

US-China Relations Deteriorate
N. Korea threat increasing, Trump tells China's Xi
Author

05 July, 2017

The threat posed by North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between U.S. President Donald Trump and the leaders of China and Japan, along with trade issues, the White House said on Sunday.

The decision to step up pressure on China comes as several prominent Trump administration officials have warned further action was needed against North Korea's nuclear missile program.

Trump is also said to have told the Chinese leader that he will seek more balanced trade relations with the U.S.' trading partners.

While there was no mention of the warship in the White House statement, it said that the two leaders discussed "a range of other regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest" and indicated the two would meet at the Group of 20 summit in Germany this week. While China has agreed to sanctions, it is wary of measures that could cause the regime's collapse, leaving a united, US -backed Korea on its border.

In his conversation with Prime Minister Abe, the White House said Trump reiterated the United States was ready to defend Japan in the event of any North Korean aggression.

USA sanctions against a Chinese bank over dealings with North Korea and the sailing of a US destroyer close to a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea. The Chinese government, however, is reluctant to impose further sanctions against North Korea that could provoke the collapse of the regime and provide an opening for the U.S. and its allies to exploit.

During the conversation, Xi stressed that important results have been achieved in bilateral relations between China and the United States since the Mar-a-Lago meeting between the two heads of state.

Obama said North Korea's future prosperity would not come "from the pursuit of nuclear weapons". "China has expressed its position to the U.S".

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During the call, Xi said the relationship between the two countries had shown progress but was also affected by "negative factors", according to Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

Trump's expressed determination to have "more balanced trade relations" with China and other major trading partners has taken concrete form in the threat of USA sanctions against foreign steel. Trump has expressed frustration with China over its reluctance, in Trump's view, to stop military advances by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement the US move was "a serious political and military provocation".

What Made Trump Deviate From Cooperation With China?

Last week, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced sanctions on two Chinese entities-the Bank of Dandong and Dalian Global Unity Shipping-as well as two Chinese business executives for their allegedly illicit business dealings with North Korea.

Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of worldwide relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said that given the recent actions by Trump, it was "a little bit odd" that Xi had agreed to the phone call.

Taiwan's Ministry of Defense said in a statement Friday morning they were "sincerely grateful" for the USA decision to go ahead with the arms deal. The Pentagon called it a "Freedom of Navigation" operation, but China said it is illegal and threatens peace and stability in the region.

China hopes that the United States will handle the Taiwan issue appropriately in accordance with the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, Xi said. "The Chinese side strongly urges the U.S. side to immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China's sovereignty and threaten China's security".

China is suspected by Washington of seeking to establish by force its demands by building military facilities in the archipelagos of Paracels and Spratleys.


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