Trump: Xi should be rewarded for lowering tensions with N. Korea

WASHINGTON-- U.S. President Donald Trump said that Chinese President Xi Jinping should be rewarded for helping lower tensions with North Korea.

Trump also said during a White House reception with reporters Monday afternoon that Xi has "real power" over North Korea, according to the Washington Examiner.

"I like him and I believe he likes me a lot," Trump was quoted as saying.

Since his first summit meetings with Xi earlier this month, Trump has repeatedly praised China for trying to increase pressure on the North, citing Beijing's decision to return coal imports from the North as an example. Trump has also held out the prospect of a better trade deal with the U.S. if China solves the problem.

Trump defended his decision not to label China a currency manipulator, saying Beijing has actually not manipulated its currency since Trump came into office and it makes no sense to beat China up when it's trying to help the U.S. with the North Korea problem.

"There has been no currency manipulation. Actually, their values have gone up, as opposed to down. We're only concerned with the down," Trump was quoted as saying.

Trump said it's not the "art of the deal" to label China a currency manipulator under these circumstances.

"It's really tough. I spoke to him last night for an hour, it's really tough to be saying, 'Thanks, but, by the way you're a currency manipulator,'" Trump said, adding, "It's supposed to be the art of the deal, that's not the art of the deal.

"How can I do it when they are helping us with a potentially horrific conflict?" he said, according to the paper.

China is North Korea's last-remaining major ally and a key provider of food and fuel supplies. But it has been reluctant to use its influence over Pyongyang for fears that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and hurt Chinese national interests.

Analysts doubt how far China can go in pressuring Pyongyang, saying China has often increased pressure on the North in the past, especially when Pyongyang carried out nuclear and missile tests and other provocative acts, but it never went as far as to cause real pain.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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