Little confrontation or progress in China-US meeting

At the top of the list, according to a source briefed on Xi s plans, was a package of Chinese investments aimed at creating more than 700,000 American jobs - the same number China s regional rival Japan pledged to Trump during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe s Mar-a-Lago visit in February.

Xi was informed of that strikes at the conclusion of his meal with Trump, the White House said Friday. And some experts suggest the timing of the strikes was meant to put more pressure on China regarding its relationship with North Korea. "That is all I am telling you".

But in public Mr Xi stuck to his script about the virtues of co-operation while Mr Trump insisted they'd formed an outstanding relationship and made great progress.

Earlier in the day, Trump said that "tremendous progress" was made in US relations with China.

"In terms of North Korea, we've been very clear that our objective is a denuclearised Korea peninsula".

"On the other hand, it's also certainly possible that, based on the way that Trump presented himself during those private discussions, that Xi confirmed that this is a president that he can walk all over", says Stone Fish, "and that Trump is going to make some symbolic announcements about trade deals - but that China has a much freer hand to work in the Pacific".

The two leaders also agreed on the "urgency of the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme" and agreed to work together to resolve the issue "peacefully", Tillerson said.

Such closer cooperation could include tighter enforcement of worldwide trade sanctions - nearly all of North Korea's trade passes through China - along with a crackdown on the North's ability to use the global financial system and heavy punishments or exclusion from the financial world for those who deal with the North.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Don't forget, we're the piggy bank. A senior White House official told the media earlier this week that "the clock has now run out [on North Korea] and all options are on the table".

China's leaders in fact have always been concerned about the yawning USA trade deficit with their country, $347 billion in 2016.

The Trump administration has shown increasing impatience with the North, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson openly mentioning the possibility of using military options during a trip to South Korea last month. The American president told reporters traveling with him to Florida that he thinks China will "want to be stepping up" in trying to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions. And according to Tillerson, the Chinese president told Trump that he "understood that such a response was necessary when people are killing children" and expressed "appreciation" that the president took the time to explain the details of and objective behind the strike on the Syrian airfield.

The Chinese response to the USA military action has been decidedly muted.

In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry urged all parties in Syria to find a political settlement. However, she did not blame the Syrian government and called for an "independent and comprehensive United Nations investigation".

China and the United States agree Pyongyang's programs are a serious problem, but have not seen eye-to-eye on how to respond.

At an emergency session of the UN Security Council yesterday, Chinese ambassador Liu Jieyi made no mention of the United States airstrikes on Syria, appealing instead for a political solution to the protracted civil war that has been fomented by the U.S. and its allies. "The big difference between Syria and North Korea is that, if the North Korean state collapses, and there's regime change or there's chaos, it's really China's responsibility to clean that up", says Stone Fish.



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