Trump-Kim summit
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US President Donald Trump speaks at the end of the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi, which ended without an agreement. Photo: AFP

Trump-Kim summit 2019: Xi could be ‘more helpful’, says US president

  • As the Hanoi summit between the United States and North Korea ends in disappointment, the US president warns trade war talks with Beijing could go a similar way, even as he acknowledges Chinese support
As talks between the United States and North Korea ended on Thursday with little to show for the effort, US President Donald Trump said his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping could have been “more helpful” in encouraging Pyongyang to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons – even as he acknowledged Beijing’s support.
“China has been very helpful. President Xi is a great leader. He is a highly respected leader all over the world,” Trump said at a press conference after his two-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without an expected accord. “Could he be more helpful? Probably.”

No deal for North Korea as Trump wants to ‘do it right, rather than fast’

But he also added: “I think China’s been a big help; bigger than most people know.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi late on Thursday said there was concern within the international community over the talks, and that Beijing hoped both sides would press on despite difficulties.

He said China would continue to play a “constructive role” in the process. Wang Yi was commenting after meeting a North Korean delegation led by deputy foreign minister Ri Kil-song.

The US president in his press conference also alluded to the US-China trade war, saying there was a “very good chance” it could be resolved soon but also raising the prospect that those negotiations could go a similar way as the Hanoi summit.

“Speaking of China, we are very well on our way to doing something special. But we’ll see. I am always prepared to walk. I’m never afraid to walk from a deal, and I would do that with China, too, if it didn’t work out.”

Trump said that Russia had also been a “big help” in dealing with Pyongyang and that he believed China “can’t love” having a nuclear armed neighbour.

Trump accused Beijing last year of slowing down the denuclearisation of North Korea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Beijing. Photo: AP

“President Xi is a world-class poker player and I’d probably, may, be doing the same thing that he would do,” Trump had said.

Despite the failure of the Hanoi summit to reach an agreement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang – commenting before Wang Yi – said at least the parties had “returned to the correct track” of solving the problem through political means.

“This result is not easy to achieve and should be treasured. The development of the Korean peninsula over the past decades has told us that dialogue and consultation is the only way out.

“We hope the US and [North Korea] can continue dialogue and express sincerity towards each other, respect and take care of each other’s core concerns, and push forward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

He added that China would “continue playing a constructive role”.

‘Sometimes you have to walk:’ Trump-Kim summit ends with no deal

Since July, Washington has imposed tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports, while Beijing has slapped similar duties on US$110 billion worth of goods it imports from the US. In September, Trump threatened to extend the tariffs to all of the products it imports from China.

“The US has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues,” Trump tweeted this week.