U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he had made progress in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and expected them to overcome many problems, a marked contrast to the stridently anti-China rhetoric of Trump's 2016 election campaign.
He did not elaborate on the progress or the problems.
Trump and Xi agreed to increase cooperation and work with the global community to convince North Korea to peacefully resolve the issue and dismantle its illegal nuclear and missile programmes, Spicer said, adding that the two sides had a candid discussion on regional and maritime security.
"We will be making additional progress".
Xi also recognized North Korea's nuclear capabilities have reached a "very serious stage of advancement, " the secretary of state said Friday, Reuters reported. DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. White House officials didn't make a direct connection between the action in Syria and any potential strike on North Korea's nuclear program.
The two leaders also discussed the situations in North Korea and Syria on Thursday and Friday. Along with its rapidly advancing nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, it has its artillery and short-range missiles trained on Seoul, the capital of US ally South Korea and a city of more than 10 million people. He had even questioned why the US should stick to the "One China" policy of recognizing only Beijing, not Taiwan, when China is not helping with the North Korea problem, though he later promised to respect the policy.
Trump has hope to use the talks with Xi to persuade and pressure China to use more of its leverage as the main provider of food and energy for the impoverished North to bring the provocative regime under control, and to reduce the massive trade deficit with China.
Days before his meeting with Xi, Trump said he was ready to deal with North Korea alone if China did not do more to restrain Pyonyang. Moreover, comments by Xi suggest that a United States military strike against Syria, ordered by Trump shortly before the two presidents met, didn't sour the friendly tone of the summit.
The Chinese have opposed efforts to remove Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power and probably took offense at the attack, said Dennis Wilder, former senior director for Asia during the George W. Bush administration. China has long voted to keep the United Nations from interfering in the conflict.
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Spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that Chinese officials "oppose the use of chemical weapons by any country, organization or person for any goal and under any circumstance" and that China "supports relevant United Nations agencies in carrying out independent and comprehensive investigations into all uses or suspected uses of chemical weapons and, on the basis of solid evidence, reaching a conclusion which can stand the test of history and facts". It is an important and meaningful development in the U.S.
China Daily said both parties appeared "equally enthusiastic about the constructive relationship they have promised to cultivate".
But the White House downplayed the possibility of a breakthrough on trade and tariffs.
This is the first time the two leaders meet, after a U.S. election that featured frequent barbs at China's "rape" of the U.S. economy.
In a possible harbinger of the kind of punishments Washington could inflict, a leading Chinese telecoms company, ZTE, was fined almost $900 million in March for shipping sensitive USA -made technology to Iran in violation of US sanctions.
"That may be ambitious, but it's a very big sea change in the pace of discussions".
Luckily, they'll have more time to get into the details.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said there was "acknowledgment" from the Chinese side "that we do need to get to a more balanced trade environment".