Trump faces off against an increasingly hostile China at G20

Donald Trump
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images Donald Trump
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07 July, 2017

Trump spoke alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in Friday in the USA, expressing his frustration with the North Korean government. Prior to the summit, President Trump had made it clear that he would offer a sweet trade deal to China in case China delivers on North Korea.

During the call on Monday, Mr Xi said the relationship between the two countries had shown progress but was also affected by "negative factors", according to Chinese news reports.

"Xi Jinping emphasized that, since my meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago, China-U.S. relations have achieved important outcomes", state broadcaster China Central Television reported, referring to Xi's meeting with Trump in Florida in April.

The report said bilateral relations have also been affected by some negative factors, on which the Chinese side has expressed its position to the United States side. "Unlike the father, the son often times has engaged in fairly significant diplomatic insults of Beijing in a way we haven't seen before and in a way that surprised China".

For months Trump based his North Korea strategy on the hope that China, the North's chief ally and trading partner, could persuade it to abandon nuclear weapons.

"Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula", it said. It said the president also looked forward to meeting Abe at the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg. (Nevermind, of course, that China has always been key to this US effort, and that this fact didn't stop Trump from repeatedly making this promise during the campaign).

It now appears that China is pushing back against the U.S. pressure, setting the stage for a potential confrontation. While China has agreed to sanctions, it is wary of measures that could cause the regime's collapse, leaving a united, USA -backed Korea on its border.

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In the latest sign of tension, a USA naval destroyer on Sunday sailed near disputed territory claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, prompting a furious response from the Chinese government.

The latest move to anger China came on Sunday, when the USS Stethem destroyer sailed a little over 22km from tiny Triton Island in the Paracel Islands archipelago, which is claimed by China as well as Taiwan and Vietnam, a United States officialsaid. "The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security".

The US warship passed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed island, and this has elicited a strong response from Beijing, which dispatched the Chinese Navy to monitor the US destroyer.

The reference to Taiwan has to do with last Thursday's announcement that the USA would sell US$1.42 billion (S$2 billion) worth of weapons to the island, which China regards as a breakaway province.

Xi said China attaches great importance to Trump's reaffirmation of U.S.adherence to the policy. It added that such operations "violate China's sovereignty and threaten China's security".

Senior U.S. officials said imposing sanctions on companies dealing with the North was among several steps considered after the ICBM launch, as U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic officials reviewed different possibilities.

Trump also spoke Monday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan about North Korea.


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