Donald Trump places 'very high value' on talks with Chinese president

Donald Trump is looking forward to his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said.

In talks with Mr Xi in Beijing on Sunday, Mr Tillerson said Mr Trump places a "very high value" on communications with the Chinese president via phone calls and exchanges of letters.

Mr Tillerson said Mr Trump looked forward to "the opportunity of a visit in the future," an apparent reference to unconfirmed reports of plans for the two men to meet in Florida next month.

Mr Tillerson has struck a cordial tone during his meetings in Beijing, the last stop in a tour of Asia that also included visits to Japan and South Korea.

His trip has been dominated by concerns over North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programme.

On the final day of his swing through Asia, Mr Tillerson's conciliatory approach was in contrast to Mr Trump's tough talk on Chinese economic competition during his presidential campaign.

Mr Xi told him that China considered his meetings on Saturday with foreign minister Wang Yi and senior diplomat Yang Jiechi to have been productive and constructive.

Rex Tillerson and Wang Yi.

"Both (Trump) and I believe that we need to make joint efforts to advance China-US co-operation and we believe that we can make sure the relationship will move ahead in a constructive fashion in the new era," Mr Xi said.

Mr Tillerson's Beijing visit followed his remarks in South Korea on Friday that pre-emptive military action against North Korea might be necessary if the threat from its weapons programme reaches a level "that we believe requires action".

China, the North's biggest source of diplomatic support and economic assistance, has not responded directly to those comments, although Beijing has called repeatedly for all sides to take steps to reduce tensions.

China has agreed reluctantly to UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea, but is adamantly opposed to measures that might bring about a collapse of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime.

Beijing fears his fall would send waves of refugees into north-eastern China and see South Korean and American forces taking up positions along its border.

Beijing's patience with Pyongyang appears to be growing thin, however.

Last month, China potentially deprived Mr Kim's regime of a crucial source of foreign currency by banning imports of North Korean coal for the rest of the year.

AP

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Related Articles

Donald Trump’s mood swings dangerous for world

Donald Trump faces deadline to avert government shutdown

100 days in, Trump says media deserve 'big, fat failing grade'

Marchers protest against climate policies on Trump's 100th day in office

More in this Section

French forces kill 20 Jihadists in Mali forest

Emmanuel Macron honours Holocaust victims and vows 'never again'

Crash between two sports cars causes chaos on motorway

Two injured in 'freak accident' at classic car show


Lifestyle

Being liberated from secrets is the best thing to happen to Caitlyn Jenner

Discussing Jane Austen's talent and legacy on the 200th anniversary of her death

Angel Olsen is the indie heroine we desperately need

Design/life: Leonie Cornelius, garden designer and interior architect

More From The Irish Examiner