Donald Trump

Five key points from Donald Trump’s talks with Xi Jinping and what they mean for US-China relations

Trade and North Korea predictably topped the bill, but they also discussed security cooperation and the relationship between their citizens

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 November, 2017, 2:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 November, 2017, 11:38pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump wrapped up their talks on Wednesday as Trump’s first presidential visit to China drew to a close.

In a joint press conference after their talks, Trump again congratulated Xi on his enhanced political status after last month’s Communist Party national congress.

“Your people are also very proud of you,” he told the Chinese leader, adding that Xi’s elevation opened the opportunity for further improving Sino-US relations.

Their talks covered a wide range of issues and point to how ties between the two countries will develop.

Here are the five key topics the two leaders discussed:

1) Reining in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions

The two sides agreed that urgent measures had to be taken to stop North Korea from further provocations, but they appeared divided over what action was needed.

Trump said the United States was committed to denuclearisation in North Korea. He called on China to work “very hard” on the issue, including cutting banking ties with its neighbour.

“If you work on it hard, it [the denuclearisation] will happen. There is no doubt about it,” Trump said. “Time is quickly running out, we must act fast, and hopefully China will act faster.”

While Xi said China was committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, he also insisted that dialogue was needed to resolve the crisis.

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping unveil US-China trade deals and outcomes of Beijing talks

2) Narrowing the trade deficit between China and the US

Trump said US trade policies had to be adjusted because the United States was lagging behind other countries. But Trump tried to strike a moderate tone, saying he would not blame China for the trade deficit which stood at US$347 billion last year. Instead, he blamed the previous US administration for the problem.

Xi said it was necessary to have continued in-depth discussions on trade and lessen restrictions on investment.

Xi Jinping, Donald Trump sign trade deals worth US$253 billion

3) Containing tensions between China and the US

The two nations have disagreed over various issues, such as the South China Sea and the US’ role in Asia.

Xi said the relationship between China and the US was at a “new historic starting point”, but added that efforts should be taken to properly manage the differences between the two nations.

In the joint press conference after the talks, Xi said he had told Trump that the Pacific Ocean was big enough to accommodate both China and the United States.

4) Stepping up military ties and ensuring security in the region

Xi said China would soon invite US Defence Secretary James Mattis to visit China, and would arrange for a Chinese military delegation to visit the US.

Trump and Xi said both sides believed there was a need to make United Nations peacekeeping operations stronger. They also agreed the two nations could work together on counterterrorism operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

They have discussed cooperation on repatriating fugitives. This one of the key areas where China wants the US to cooperate, but it has been thwarted by the lack of an extradition treaty.

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However, the two leaders made no mention of Guo Wengui, a billionaire living in exile in New York who has made a string of sensational allegations about senior Chinese figures.

5) More exchanges between young people

Trump said he hoped the peoples of both nations would build up more personal relationships, particularly the younger generations. He highlighted four existing channels for high-level dialogue with China, one of which was person-to-person exchanges.

“In the coming months and years, I look forward to building an even stronger relationship between our countries, China and the United States of America, and even closer friendships and relationships between the people of our countries,” Trump said.