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President Trump visits China, to hold talks on trade deficit and North Korea

November 08
11:39:14 2017
A trade deficit that US President Donald Trump has called "embarrassing" and the increasing threat posed by North Korea will be atop the agenda on his first official visit to Beijing on Wednesday.
A trade deficit that US President Donald Trump has called "embarrassing" and the increasing threat posed by North Korea will be atop the agenda on his first official visit to Beijing on Wednesday.

Trump has embarked on a 12-day trip to the Asia-Pacific and will arrive in China just two weeks after the end of the 19th Communist Party congress, which saw President Xi Jinping consolidate his power.

White House staff have said Trump will address his country's deficit with the world's second-largest economy.

Before his departure, Trump described the trade deficit with China as "through the roof" saying it was "so big and bad that it's embarrassing saying what the number is".

The US trade deficit for goods totaled $347bn last year. China also holds about one-third of the US' global debt.

On Tuesday in South Korea, Trump made rare conciliatory comments towards the North, inviting officials to "come to the table" to negotiate over its nuclear weapons. However, he also underscored the US' "unparalleled" military strength that he would unleash "if need be".

Earlier this year, Pyongyang's nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests led the UN Security Council to unanimously approve two rounds of sanctions. So far, China's support has proven vital for the council, but also for North Korea.

Beijing is traditionally seen as the pariah state's closest ally and its most important trade partner. In 2016, 90 percent of Pyongyang's trade was with China, but the nuclear and missile tests have angered its neighbour.

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