Trump's Signals to China

China's leader Xi Jinping said that ties with the U.S. have been strained by "some negative factors" in a telephone conversation with President Donald Trump Sunday. But his vitriol dialed down after meeting Xi at Mar-a-Lago in early April, particularly as Trump felt he had Xi's assurance that he would pressure North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.

"Xi Jinping emphasized that, since my meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago, China-U.S. relations have achieved important outcomes", state broadcaster China Central Television reported, referring to Xi's meeting with Trump in Florida in April.

It is unclear whether any of those issues will come up in discussions at the G20 summit in Germany this week at which Mr Trump and Mr Xi are expected to hold a bilateral meeting.

The Chinese bank recently placed under USA sanctions was only one of the 10 Chinese companies on the U.S.'s blacklist, and for the moment the sanctions will be limited in order to gauge China's reaction.

The Chinese president also said that his country attaches great importance to Trump's reaffirmation that the U.S. will adhere to the "One China" policy.

USA sanctions against a Chinese bank over dealings with North Korea and the sailing of a US destroyer close to a Chinese-claimed island in the South China Sea.

On June 29, the USA government announced sanctions against the Bank of Dandong for providing support to North Korea's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Relations between China and the United States had warmed up after the two leaders met in February, with Trump even describing Xi as a "terrific person".

Trump said the relationship has broad prospects, with both countries having a wide spectrum of common interests. "China has expressed its position to the U.S".

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But Mr Xi was also quoted as saying, relations "have been affected by some negative factors". Geng Shuang, commenting on Trump's words, stressed that Beijing's considerable efforts in North Korea settlement are acknowledged by everybody.

Mr Trump had for months based his strategy on the hope that China, North Korea's chief ally and trading partner, could persuade Pyongyang to abandon its weapons program.

Is China going to attack North Korea or move troops into the border region to intimidate Kim at precisely the time when the young North Korean leader is brandishing new missiles?

Taiwan's Ministry of Defense said in a statement Friday morning they were "sincerely grateful" for the United States decision to go ahead with the arms deal.

That global approach to trade may put China in conflict with Trump and his "America First" protectionist economic views.

The administration said last week it has blacklisted a Chinese bank, a Chinese firm and two Chinese individuals for what Washington sees as illicit dealings with North Korea.

Such operations are meant to demonstrate freedom of navigation in disputed waters. "The Chinese side strongly urges the USA side to immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China's sovereignty and threaten China's security". It also approved a $1.4 billion arms deal with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

China is suspected by Washington of seeking to establish by force its demands by building military facilities in the archipelagos of Paracels and Spratleys.

  • Sonia Alvarado