Trump, Xi converge on currency, Syria as US-China ties warm

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published 13.04.2017 23:23

During the 2016 presidential election campaign Trump insisted that one of his first acts as president would be to direct his treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator. It was part of a "contract" with American voters that he pledged to fulfill.

Trump told Financial Times he'd changed his mind because China hasn't been manipulating its currency for months. He said a U.S. declaration of Chinese manipulation could jeopardize efforts to secure the country's help in containing the threat posed by North Korea.

Since Trump has met with China's Xi Jinping the two nations have both expressed their will to cooperate on the North Korean problem. Pyongyang has become increasingly antagonistic since Trump took office, launching a total of six ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan starting a little less than a month after the President was inaugurated. North Korea's February 11th test launch was seemingly coordinated with the Japanese PM's Shinzō Abe while the April 4 launch occurred a day before the Chinese premier's visit to the Winter White House in Florida.

Another result of the diplomatic wrangling: a surprising Chinese abstention on a U.N. resolution condemning the Syrian chemical weapons attack.

Trump is hailing the rapport he developed with Xi during last week's Florida summit, which seems to have yielded an immediate easing of tensions.

He says he thinks Xi "wants to help us with North Korea," Trump said of Xi, crediting China with taking a "big step" by turning back boats of coal that North Korea sells to its northern neighbor. North Korea conducts some 90 percent of its trade with China.

Before his meeting with China's Xi, Trump had said in his interview with Financial Times that the US is ready and able to deal with the North Korean problem "with or without China".

"China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone." he had said.

In a show of force, the United States Navy has deployed Strike Group 1, under the flagship nuclear-powered carrier USS Carl Vinson, to the Korean peninsula. Pyongyang has seen the move as a major provocation, however historically speaking this is nothing new as the US is trying to show solidarity with its allies in Seoul and Tokyo.

Furthermore the Japanese Prime Minister has warned that North Korea might be capable of deploying missiles with sarin as warheads." Japan has unpleasant memories with sarin gas, the same one used in the Syria incident, as in 1995 a doomsday cult killed 12 and made thousands more ill by delivering the nerve agent via Tokyo's metro system.

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