Trump does not take questions during first China visit

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2017

From Riyadh to Paris to Beijing, world leaders have consistently returned to Chapter 1 of the Trump textbook as they prepare for a visit from Trump: flattery will get you everywhere.

But the two leaders also have their differences. "Though Taiwan was not expected be a major focus of talks with China's president, some anxious that the issue may come up during discussions of North Korea's weapons program or trade".

The two big issues hovering over their meetings will be the looming threat of a nuclear North Korea and Trump's other bugbear, the yawning us trade deficit with China.

"North Korea is a country ruled as a cult", he said.

In remarks to reporters on Air Force One ahead of his first stop in Japan on Sunday, Trump rejected assertions that he was entering the meeting with Xi in a weakened state.

Trump also avoided putting his host in an uncomfortable position, making none of the demands his past three predecessors have made that Xi take questions alongside him from independent journalists.

China is the world's biggest soybean importer and the its second largest supplier.

Mr Xi focused instead on China's economic progress and made a promise to be more open and transparent.

It was unclear if a deal was already struck, but Mr Moon said they had agreed to "begin consultations on acquisitions" that would enhance South Korea's defence capabilities.

In a show of the importance China puts on Trump's first official visit, Thursday's welcoming ceremony outside Beijing's Great Hall of the People overlooking Tiananmen Square was broadcast live on state television - unprecedented treatment for a visiting leader. China dropped a 14-year ban on US beef imports this year. On the campaign trail Trump had frequently been critical of China and a number of close advisers held sympathetic views of Taiwan's concerns.

"You changed all of that yesterday by giving the most powerful speech of any U.S. President exposing the many aspects of brutality of Kim's dictatorship from the political prison camps to the daily hunger and deprivation and to the cruelty imposed upon those who try to flee North Korea including forced abortions". "I'm not angry with China", he said at the time.

Nearly a year later, Trump will head to Beijing with more incentive to show off his self-proclaimed deal-making skills than to pick a fight. "We are closely watching the North's reaction". That included urging China to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at depriving the North's government of revenue for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"China's great. No problem".

Other factors add further uncertainty to the relationship.

Trump had made narrowing the multibillion-dollar USA trade deficit with China a priority for his administration.

Agriculture trade has been a bright spot in U.S. It now stands at around 2 percent of gross domestic product and lags far behind that of China, its primary geopolitical rival.

He is on a five-nation tour of Asia, where North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been high on his agenda.

Trump said the welcome "was truly memorable and impressive and something I will never forget".

On the former, Trump appears to have laid down his cards.

Speaking to the business community, Xi was keen to highlight the existing economic cooperation between the two superpowers, including the more than 5 million vehicles General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler have together manufactured and sold past year in China, which he said was more than other parts of the world combined.

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