Beijing, Nov 8 : US President Donald Trump on Wednesday kicked off a three-day China visit, after urging Beijing to downgrade its diplomatic and sever trade ties with North Korea over its nuclear policy.
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 the third meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this year.
The two leaders are expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis and the US trade deficit with China.
As the Air Force One landed at Beijing airport, Trump and First Lady Melania were greeted by the Communist regime’s leaders, a People’s Liberation Army guard of honour and children with the flags of both countries.
Trump and his wife walked down the red carpet and rode in a Cadillac limousine.
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 by 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 was 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 was expected to dine with Xi inside the Jianfu Palace.
The Trumps also watched a traditional Peking Opera performance alongside Xi and his wife. According to Xinhua, during his meeting with Xi, Trump showed him a video of his granddaughter Arabella singing in Mandarin.
Xi praised Ivanka and Jared Trump’s daughter for her progress in mastering the language and said she could get an “A+”.
The recalcitrant North Korea and its reluctance to come to the negotiation table will figure in the Xi-Trump meet. 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 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 several bilateral agreements will be signed on Thursday.
Trump will also visit Vietnam and the Philippines.