Tuesday 16 October 2018

Cut ties with 'hellish' N Korea, Trump tells Xi

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania get a thumbs-up from China’s President Xi Jinping in the Forbidden City in Beijing Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania get a thumbs-up from China’s President Xi Jinping in the Forbidden City in Beijing Photo: Reuters

Neil Connor and Ben Riley-Smith Beijing, Washington

Donald Trump arrived in Beijing yesterday after earlier calling on China to stop all trade with North Korea or have the regime's growing nuclear threat on its "conscience" ahead of crunch talks.

The US president said China should feel no "obligation" to help its neighbouring regime and urged it to "sever all ties".

US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping watch an opera performance at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Photos: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping watch an opera performance at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Photos: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

He also described North ­Korea as a "hell that no person deserves" and issued a warning directly to the regime: "Do not underestimate us and do not try us."

The intervention came in an address to South Korea's national assembly before Mr Trump flew into China as part of his five-nation tour of Asia.

Despite the tough rhetoric, Mr Trump enjoyed a tour of the Forbidden City alongside Xi ­Jinping, the Chinese president, as the pair's personal "bromance" was further deepened.

There are reportedly hopes from Mr Trump's team that $250bn (€215bn) of trade deals between companies can be agreed during the visit.

China shares a land border with North Korea and remains the regime's main ally, providing most of its energy despite cutting some trade after recent United Nations sanctions.

Mr Trump urged it to go ­further. "We call on every ­nation, including China and Russia, to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime and sever all ties of trade and technology," he said. "It is our responsibility and our duty to confront this danger together, because the longer we wait, the greater the danger grows and the fewer the options become.

"And to those nations that choose to ignore this threat - or worse still, to enable it - the weight of this crisis is on your conscience."

Mr Trump, who has already visited Japan during his tour, also issued a direct warning to Kim Jong-un, North Korea's young leader.

He said: "The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer.

"They are putting your regime in grave danger.

"Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.

"North Korea is not the ­paradise your grandfather ­envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves."

Mr Trump attempted to make an unexpected visit to the Korean peninsula's demilitarised zone [DMZ] but fog shrouding the border stopped the trip.

While Mr Trump and Mr Xi were expected to clash over their approaches to trade and North Korea in talks, the pair enjoyed a day of sight-seeing yesterday. They struck up a bond when Mr Xi visited Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, earlier this year and the favour was returned yesterday.

Mr Trump was treated to tea in the Forbidden City in Beijing, which dates back to the 15th century and was used as the imperial palace for centuries.

The presidents and their wives viewed antiques and historical relics from the ­Forbidden City's museum.

They were also treated to three performances of Peking Opera, a Chinese dramatic ­tradition that combines music, acting, mime and singing.

"Such hospitality is rarely seen in modern China," the 'Global Times', an influential tabloid, said in an editorial.

Earlier in the day, Mr Trump had been greeted with children singing "Welcome to China, I love you" and waving Chinese and American flags.

Mr Trump also showed off a video of his six-year-old granddaughter singing in Mandarin and reciting ancient Chinese poetry to Mr Xi, who reportedly gave the performance an "A+".

Tomorrow, Mr Trump flies to Vietnam for an Apec ­economic leaders' meeting. (© Daily ­Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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