Chinese President Xi Jinping praised US President Donald Trump’s “successful and historic visit” to Beijing on Thursday afternoon, as the two leaders addressed tensions on the Korean Peninsula and bilateral trade relations at a press conference in the Great Hall of the People.
President Xi noted that while China and the US have different opinions on certain topics, common ground can be found with good communication, cooperation, and respect.
Earlier in the day, the leaders held talks which touched on cooperation on achieving peace in Afghanistan, before overseeing the signing of commercial deals worth 253.5 billion US dollars.
Korean Peninsula denuclearization
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and said both sides would “strictly implement” UN Security Council sanctions.
The Chinese president stressed that solutions could be found “through peaceful communication and consultation.”
Trump earlier agreed that a solution to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) issue was possible, telling Xi: “I do believe there’s a solution to that, as do you.”
At the press conference, Trump described the DPRK as a “nuclear menace” and warned that the world “not to replicate failed approaches of the past.”
“All responsible nations must join together to stop arming and financing, and even trading with the murderers in the North Korea (DPRK) regime,” Trump said.
The US president added that “collective action, collective strength, and collective devotion” was essential to a finding successful solution to the DPRK issue.
Trump spoke out a day after issuing a grave warning to Pyongyang not to test the US while addressing South Korea’s National Assembly in Seoul, while offering “a path to a better future” through the denuclearization.
Xi and Trump also spoke of working together to achieve stability in Afghanistan, with Trump said they were both “committed to working towards a peaceful future for Afghanistan.”
Xi underlined that China planned further reforms and steps to open up market access to foreign companies, which he said would increase the space for further China-US trade and investment.
The Chinese president urged US companies to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.
The issue of access to the respective markets of each country was in focus ahead Trump’s visit, with the US president previously criticizing China’s trade surplus with the US.
At the press conference, Trump stated: “We want a vibrant trade relationship with China, we also want a fair and reciprocal one. Today I discussed with President Xi the chronic imbalance in our relationship when it comes to trade.”
In brief remarks earlier in the day, Trump twice blamed previous US administrations for trade imbalances between China and the US.
“The US really has to change its policies because they’ve gotten so far behind on trade with China, and frankly with many other countries,” he said. “And I have great respect for you for that, because you’re representing China.”
“It’s too bad that past administrations allowed it to get so far out of kilter. We’ll make it fair and it’ll be tremendous for both of us.”
Xi and Trump oversaw the signing of commercial deals and MOUs at the conclusion of the US-China Business Exchange.
Agreements with a combined total value 253.5 billion US dollars of cooperation deals between Chinese and US companies in industries as diverse as liquefied natural gas, aviation, soybeans, and banking.
One gas deal alone — between Alaska, Alaska Gasline Development Corp, Sinopec, China Investment Corporation (CIC) and the Bank of China – involves a total investment of up to 43 billion US dollars.
Xi said the meetings with Trump had set a solid relationship for the growth of China-US ties.
“The meeting between me and President Trump sets the tone and laid a solid foundation for the solid development of China-US relationship. It will achieve more results and more benefits for people around the world.”
The US president added he looked forward “to building an even stronger relationship between our two countries.”
Earlier on Thursday, Xi and Trump inspected a guard of honor outside the Great Hall of the People at an official welcome ceremony for the US president.
China is the third leg of Trump’s five-nation Asian tour, after visits to Japan and South Korea. The US president is due to leave Beijing on Friday for an APEC meeting and state visit in Vietnam, before rounding off his trip at an ASEAN conference and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.