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Trump to talk trade and North Korea with Chinese leader Xi


North Korea and trade will likely top the agenda when U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sit down for formal talks on Thursday, a day after Trump warned Pyongyang of the grave danger of developing nuclear weapons, APA reports quoting Reuters.

 

In a show of the importance China puts on Trump’s first official visit, Thursday morning’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.

 

Trump and Xi hit it off at their first meeting in April at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and continued their “bromance” on Wednesday with an afternoon of sightseeing together with their wives. However, deep divisions persist over trade and North Korea.

 

And while Xi is riding high after consolidating power at a twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress last month, Trump comes to China saddled with low public approval ratings and dogged by investigations into Russian links to his election campaign.

 

Trump has ratcheted up his criticism of China’s massive trade surplus with the United States - calling it “embarrassing” and “horrible” last week - and has accused Beijing of unfair trade practices, fuelling worries of increased tension between the world’s two largest trading countries.

 

For its part, China says U.S. restrictions on Chinese investments in the United States and on high-tech exports need to be addressed.

 

Roughly $250 billion in deals with U.S. companies are expected to be announced during the visit, people familiar with the matter said, with several corporate CEOs in Beijing as part of a delegation led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

 

Some in the U.S. business community have expressed worry that contract wins could come at the expense of resolving long-standing complaints over market access restrictions in China.

 

“This shows that we have a strong, vibrant bilateral economic relationship, and yet we still need to focus on leveling the playing field because U.S. companies continue to be disadvantaged doing business in China,” said William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

 

Trump railed against China’s trade practices during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and threatened to take action once in office. But he has since held back on any major trade penalties, making clear he was doing so to give Beijing time to make progress reining in North Korea.

 

A U.S. official said both sides are “in sync” about wanting to minimize friction during the visit and recreate the positive tone of the Mar-a-Lago summit.

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