The South Asian Times

23 March 2018 06:33 AM

Trump begins three-day China visit

By Gaurav Sharma

Beijing, Nov 8: US President Donald Trump arrived here on Wednesday, kicking off his three-day China visit where he will discuss the vexed North Korea's nuclear crisis and the trade deficit with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

Air Force One landed around 2.35 p.m. at Beijing airport, where Trump and First Lady Melania were greeted by the Communist regime's leaders, a People's Liberation Army guard of honor and children with the flags of both countries.

Trump and his wife got off the plane about 20 minutes after it landed, walked down the red carpet rolled out for the occasion and rode in a Cadillac limousine.

The third leg of the US President's five-nation Asia tour comes after stops in Japan and South Korea. This is Trump's first visit to China as US President and third meet with Xi in this year.

Both sides have sought to make favourable conditions for the talks between the leaders of the world's top two economies, with Trump going the extra mile and calling Xi on Tuesday "very helpful" in dealing with nuclear threats posed Pyongyang.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a speech to the South Korean Parliament, Trump urged Beijing to "implement UN sanctions, downgrade diplomacy and sever trade" with Pyongyang.

Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan invited the Trumps for a tour of the Forbidden City, the historic palace that housed Chinese emperors and their families for almost 500 years, Xinhua news agency reported.

They had the afternoon tea in the Baoyun Building, also known as the Hall of Embodied Treasures, in the southwestern corner of the Forbidden City.

A dinner has been organised inside the Forbidden City for Trump and the First Lady -- an honour not granted to any US President since the founding of the People's Republic of China, CNN reported.

Trump is expected to dine with Xi inside the Jianfu Palace, although the exact location of the dinner wasn't confirmed. Wherever he dines in the Forbidden City, Trump will be the first foreign leader to have an official dinner in the palace since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949.

The recalcitrant North and its reluctance to come to the negotiation table will figure in the Xi-Trump meet as the US wants to China to do more to rein in its ally, which has fired a series of missiles and tested its most powerful hydrogen bomb in September.

China says that it is not the trouble-maker and has only limited ability to solve the crisis.

Power equations will be changed this time as Xi has become more powerful, because of exalted status in China, and Trump's popularity has taken a hit in the US.

The US President will also chair a business forum and there will be a signing of several bilateral agreements in the Great Hall of the People on Thursday.

Update: 08 Nov, 2017