Trump vows to tackle NKorea nuclear threat on his Asia trip
The US President abandoned his usual anti-China rhetoric in a bid to find indispensable partners
10 November, 2017
US President Donald Trump speaks at the South Korean National Assembly, 8 November, in Seoul.
China and US announced memorandums of understanding to increase trade by $253bn, which the leaders said was a sign of greater cooperation.
"Ban Trump" says a sign raised during the US President’s visit to the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines.
Donald Trump left his China-bashing rhetoric at home on 9 November in an effort to enlist Beijing’s help in cracking down against North Korea’s nuclear programme. Gone was the man who once excoriated Beijing for “raping" his country, and who routinely vowed to slap a 45% tariff on Chinese imports while labelling the country a currency manipulator.
Speaking at a joint appearance with Xi in front of business leaders, Trump said the US trade relationship with China is “a very one-sided and unfair one.” But, he quickly added, “I don’t blame China.” He attacked past US administrations “for having allowed it to get so far out of kilter.”
"Who can blame a country that is able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit,” the US President said.
The remarks came in the middle of Trump’s marathon 12-day trip through Asia focused on addressing Pyongyang’s nuclear threat while advancing America’s economic position in the Asia-Pacific. Standing beside his counterpart in Beijing’s cavernous Great Hall of the People, Trump elevated Beijing as an indispensable partner in bringing pressure on North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons programme or, as he intimated at the UN in September, face certain annihilation. Both Chinese and US officials said that Beijing has taken some noticeable steps on North Korea following the Kim regime’s recent spate of attempts to upgrade its nuclear programme – including a set of ballistic missile launches. China, for example, approved a new round of sanctions at the UN in September, said it would close off Pyongyang’s coal imports and agreed to cut banking links and lessen exports of diesel fuel. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, briefing reporters after the meetings, said the US delegation was “quite pleased” because there was “no disagreement” on North Korea.
A day earlier, Trump delivered a speech before South Korea’s parliament in Seoul, calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “tyrant” whose “dark fantasy” is to rule over an “enslaved Korean people.” A senior State Department official told reporters that while Trump’s trip to Seoul focused on calling out North Korea’s illegal actions, the President’s stop in Beijing was about underscoring China’s role in resolving the crisis. In Tokyo, US President Donald Trump emphasised that Japan could shoot North Korean missiles "out of the sky" with military equipment bought from the US.
During the leg in Beijing, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his Chinese counterpart announced $9bn in deals involving almost 20 companies, including agreements with energy and industrial businesses, such as DowDupont, General Electric, Bell Helicopter, and Honeywell International. China and US announced memorandums of understanding to increase trade by $253bn, which the leaders said was a sign of greater cooperation.