USA missile strikes on a Syrian airbase came as President Donald Trump and China leader Xi JInping, meeting for the first time, were discussing what should be done about North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction.
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The timing of Thursday s attack on Syria, during Trump s meeting with Xi, will probably give weight to Washington s threats to deal with North Korea s nuclear and missile programs unilaterally if necessary.
President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago last week.
Taking action against North Korea has been a sticking point in US talks with the Chinese.
Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times published Sunday that China should help with the problem by using the "great influence" it has over Pyongyang, warning that if it doesn't, the USA will solve the problem on its own, and that "won't be good for anyone".
One government official in Seoul pointed out, "The United States has evidence on how North Korea used some Chinese banks and evaded sanctions to gain profit". The highest-level visit to Korea since Trump took office should be a meaningful occasion to discuss bilateral security and economic cooperation and reaffirm the ironclad alliance of the two countries.
These are deep issues that require careful consideration, and, fortunately for China, President Xi did not have to take any on-the-spot decision on North Korea except for the usual optics of "sharing the view North Korea's nuclear capabilities has reached a very serious stage".
"I think a first step could be getting North Korea to freeze all of its activities - no more nuclear testing, no more missile testing, get inspectors in to verify things", Blinken said.
Trump said in a brief appearance before reporters that he and Xi made "tremendous progress" in their first face-to-face talks and that he believe "lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away".
Ahead of the two presidents' second round of talks, senior Chinese and USA officials on Friday initiated the comprehensive economic dialogue, as well as the diplomatic and security dialogue, two of the four pillars of the newly established bilateral dialogue mechanism.
Instead, it was interrupted by the unexpected missile attack.
The US launched Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase early Friday morning in an apparent retaliation for a poison gas attack that killed at least 70 people in rebel-held territory on Tuesday.
North Korea has vowed to bolster its defenses to protect itself against airstrikes like the ones President Donald Trump ordered against an air base in Syria.
Xi offered Trump to visit China later this year, which Trump accepted. After Tuesday's missile launch by the North, Tillerson issued an unusually blunt statement saying the U.S.
For his part, Xi told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that he gained a better understanding of the U.S. president and that the two had cemented their "mutual trust, [and] reached many major consensuses".
Last week's strike against Syria was also designed as a stark warning against other rogue regimes, including North Korea's, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday. The former reality TV star has spent years bashing China and described the country as an enemy of the United States in his campaign manifesto. The Trump administration also has yet to fill many key foreign policy posts.
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