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Trump In China Amid North Korea Tensions


U.S. President Donald Trump has begun a visit to China that is expected to be dominated by talks on trade and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Trump arrived in Beijing on November 8 from South Korea, where he issued a stark warning to Pyongyang not to test the United States' resolve.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump got a lavish welcome and a tour of the Chinese capital's Forbidden City, where they watched a music-and-dance performance.

They were accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, as well as senior U.S. and Chinese officials.

Trump, who is on a five-country Asian tour shadowed by concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, said earlier in the day that the world "cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation."

In a speech to the South Korean parliament, Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the nuclear weapons Pyongyang is developing "are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger."

"Do not underestimate us and do not try us," Trump told North Korea, using some of his toughest language yet against Pyongyang.

At the same time, Trump promised a "path to a much better future" for North Korea if it stopped developing ballistic missiles and agreed to "complete, verifiable and total denuclearization."

In recent months, Pyongyang has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and carried out its sixth nuclear explosion, prompting Trump to warn in August of "fire and fury" in response to the North's moves.

China is North Korea's main diplomatic supporter and trading partner, and Trump was expected to push Xi to step up pressure on Kim to abandon his nuclear ambitions.

North Korea depends on China for its economic survival and for 90 percent of its trade.

With trade also high on the agenda, Trump has brought a large business delegation along, and U.S. and Chinese companies signed 19 deals worth a total $9 billion shortly after his arrival in Beijing.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang oversaw a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People but did not immediately give details about the 19 deals.

Wang said the agreements were merely a "warmup" before Trump and Xi oversee their own ceremony on November 9 involving bigger deals, including in exports of natural gas and soybeans.

Trump has said he would use the three-day China visit to press Xi on Beijing's massive trade surplus with the United States, which was valued at $26.6 billion last month according to official Chinese data.

China's state news agency quoted Xi as saying on November 8 that Trump's first state visit to Beijing was expected to yield "positive and important" results.

Trump is to travel on November 10 to Vietnam, where he is scheduled to deliver a speech to leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had also been scheduled to address the 21-country forum on November 10, but Putin's speech has reportedly been canceled.

Trump said earlier that he expected to meet with Putin during his Asia tour, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 8 that Putin was "ready" for such a meeting and "the Americans know that."

Lavrov also said that he might meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during the November 10-11 APEC summit. He said those talks would probably touch on bilateral relations, which he said need "serious repairs," as well as issues including "Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine."

U.S.-Russian relations are badly strained over issues including Moscow's aggression in Ukraine and its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Since his inauguration in January, Trump's only face-to-face meetings with Putin took place during a G20 summit in Germany in July.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa, BBC, TASS, and Interfax
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