Ever since their first real-life encounter earlier this month, US president Donald Trump has been touting the “great chemistry” he has with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Xi might feel less enthusiastic. In their latest call, which took place during Beijing’s morning today (April 24), Xi urged Trump to show restraint over the issue of North Korea, which might be preparing its sixth nuclear test for a military holiday being held tomorrow. The two leaders also discussed China’s troublesome neighbor at their Mar-a-Lago meeting and during a follow-up call.
On April 12 Trump told the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that he has offered Xi better trade deals in exchange for help on confronting North Korea. “We have a great chemistry together. We like each other. I like him a lot. I think his wife is terrific,” he said.
Last week Trump sat down with the Associated Press to talk about the first 100 day of his administration. This time he also used the phrase “great chemistry” to describe his relationship with other world leaders, including Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and German chancellor Angela Merkel (whom Trump awkwardly ignored while she tried to shake his hand at the White House last month).
Of course Xi was on the list, too. When asked to elaborate on his “chemistry” with Xi, Trump took China’s hardening stance against North Korea as an example:
“Look, he [Xi] turned down many coal ships. These massive coal ships are coming where they get a lot of their income. They’re coming into China and they’re being turned away. That’s never happened before. The fuel, the oil, so…
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