Chinese President Xi Jinping told Trump at a bilateral meeting in Beijing on Thursday that China believes cooperation between the two countries is the “only correct choice” and that relations between the sides have entered “a new historic starting point.”
“We believe that Sino-US relations are a matter of the well-being of the peoples of the two countries as well as the peace, prosperity and stability of the world,” Xi told Trump at a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, adding that China was committed to working with the United States on North Korea, Afghanistan and other issues of international concern.
Trump was equally effusive towards an erstwhile rival: “We have a capacity to solve world problems for many, many years to come. My feeling toward you is an incredible warm one … we have great chemistry, and I think we’re going to do tremendous things for both China and the United States.” Trump said his welcome in Beijing was “unforgettable.”
Trump thanked Xi on Twitter when he arrived in the country:
The pair of presidents also oversaw a signing ceremony in which business agreements and contracts worth over $200 billion (€172 billion) were inked.
Recalibrating US-China relations, again
Trump often referred to China in his 2016 election campaign by calling Chinese trade practices “unfair,” signaling his intention to recalibrate Washington’s stance in relation to the Asian power, although without any clear signals what that might mean in practice. On Thursday, he said the US and China would be able to reach trade agreements that benefit both countries.
“We will make it fair and it will be tremendous for both of us,” Trump said.
Xi said China will become more open to foreign companies, including US firms.
“For China, cooperation is the only real choice, only win-win can lead to an even better future,” he said.
Trump’s domestic agenda of economic nationalism and jobs for US workers has grated against a world economic order in which the United States and China are symbiotically linked mainly via trade and Chinese holdings of US debt. This in effect provides US consumers credit to buy Chinese products, cheaply produced and thus non-inflationary, but not conducive to bringing jobs back to the US, as Trump has said he wants.
China, meanwhile, had been making overtures towards Moscow, but as investigations draw ever more evidence of the Trump election campaign’s contacts with the Kremlin in 2016, the more Beijing appears to want to push for closer ties with the US, a policy stance apparently cemented by the recent consolidation of Xi’s power base within the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Trump is expected to ask Xi to do more to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. He said he was confident the countries could reach a solution.
“I do believe there’s a solution to that, as do you,” the US president said, adding later that time was running out. “I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on this very hard.”
Before arriving in China, Trump told the South Korean National Assembly that “all responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea.”
China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and Trump is expected to demand that the nation curtail its dealings with Pyongyang and expel North Korean workers from its borders.
As the US moves closer to Beijing, South Korea appears to be following suit.
The North reacts
North Korea responded to Trump’s tough words by saying the US should oust him from power.
State-run media in North Korea referred to Trump as a “lunatic old man” and said that the US should force Trump out “to get rid of the abyss of doom.”
North Korea said the United States should heed its advice “if it does not want a horrible nuclear disaster and tragic doom.”
jbh/sms (dpa, AP)