Friends and fake news
Donald Trump mentioned China so frequently on the campaign trail it turned into a meme. He repeatedly called the Communist state a “currency manipulator” and even accused them of “raping” the US.
In fact, Mr Trump was taking aim at China long before the election, tweeting in 2013: “China is not our friend. They want to overtake us and if we don’t get smart and tough soon, they will.”
But just a few months into his presidency, Mr Trump welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida with open arms and described the pair’s relationship as “outstanding”.
He decided against taking China’s leader for a round of golf though – Mr Xi has shut down several golf courses since coming into power and banned the Communist Party’s 88 million members from teeing off.
The White House released few details about the pair’s discussions but the meeting appeared to go well. “I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away,” an optimistic Mr Trump told reporters.
A few days later he tweeted: “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!”
But Mr Trump’s positive outlook on China again hardened in June, when he expressed frustration that China was not doing more to curb North nuclear ambitions.
China, which is North Korea’s main economic ally, and Russia have urged Pyongyang to halt its ballistic missile programme in exchange while also calling for the US and South Korea to suspend their large-scale military exercises in the region.
Mr Trump appeared to empathise with China, tweeting on 20 June: “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”
But the White House later angered Beijing by imposing sanctions on Chinese businesses that it claimed did business with North Korea and agreed to new arms sales to Taiwan.
In early July, he expressed impatience with China after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. He tweeted: “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”
But when the two world leaders met again at the G20 summit in Germany, Mr Trump struck a more conciliatory tone.
“It’s an honour to have you as a friend,” he told Mr Xi.
“As far as North Korea is concerned, we will have, eventually, success. It may take longer than I’d like. It may take longer than you’d like. But there will be success in the end one way or the other.”
He later tweeted he had “an excellent meeting on trade & North Korea” with Mr Xi.
via BBC News – World http://ift.tt/k2OXzt
July 17, 2017 at 07:24PM