Trump presses Xi on trade, N Korea

China talks of reducing trade surplus

Trump presses Xi on trade, N Korea

President Donald Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear programme and help reduce the gaping US trade deficit with Beijing in talks on Friday, even as he toned down the strident anti-China rhetoric of his poll campaign.

Trump spoke publicly of progress on a range of issues in his first US-China summit —as did several of his top aides — but they provided few concrete specifics other than China’s agreement to work together to narrow disagreements and find common ground for cooperation.

As the two leaders wrapped up a Florida summit overshadowed by US missile strikes in Syria overnight, Xi joined Trump in stressing the positive mood of the meetings while papering over deep differences that have caused friction between the world’s two biggest economies.

Trump’s aides insisted he had made good on his pledge to raise concerns about China’s trade practices and said there was some headway, with Xi agreeing to a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting US exports and reducing China’s trade surplus with the US.

Speaking after the two-day summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said that Xi had agreed to increased cooperation in reining in North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes - though he did not offer any new formula for cracking Pyongyang’s defiant attitude.

Trump had promised during the campaign to stop what he called the theft of American jobs by China. On Friday, the unpredictable Trump not only set a different tone, but also avoided any public lapses in protocol that Chinese officials had feared could embarrass their leader.

Xi also spoke in mostly positive terms. “We have engaged in deeper understanding, and have built a trust,” he said. “I believe we will keep developing in a stable way to form friendly relations... For the peace and stability of the world, we will also fulfil our historical responsibility.”

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