Airstrikes on Syria might also send message to North Korea

Posted April 18, 2017

Speaking on Radio 4's "Today" program, the ex-chief of British intelligence M-I6 branch John Sawyers warned: "If you are looking for a world crisis which could bring about the dangers of a clash between great powers, then North Korea is a bigger concern than Syria".

Unlike Trump's meeting with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, there was no golfing with Xi, who has banned Chinese officials from the sport as part of a crackdown on corruption. He signed two executive orders calling for tighter enforcement of tariffs imposed in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade cases, as well as a comprehensive review of U.S. trade deficits.

China accounted for the lion's share - US$347 billion - of last year's $502-billion trade deficit.

"We did think the USA might raise the import tax, but we don't worry that America will suddenly start manufacturing on a large scale what we are making", Shia said.

By all reports, the meetings between the two leaders were constructive and cordial with a frank exchange of views, according to the BBC.

Trump told Xi the United States would "chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us", Tillerson said.

Ahead of the summit, a bipartisan group of USA senators sent a letter to Trump asking him to tell China to end its "unwarranted and unfair economic retaliation against South Korea" for the deployment of the Thaad system.

"China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula, insists on maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving the problem through peaceful means", Xi was quoted as saying.

"There's always a transformation that takes place from a person who wins the presidency, and then once he assumes office he necessarily sees the world from a different perspective", said Edward Djerejian, a former US ambassador to Syria and Israel who now directs Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Another outcome of Trump's shift on Syria has been a strikingly tougher tone from his administration on Russian Federation.

However, any escalation in protectionist measures against Beijing will also have negative effects on the US.

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Trump recently declared that if China fails to apply additional pressure on North Korea, the US would act on its own. Second, tariffs on Chinese imports will lead to higher costs of imported goods, meaning inflationary pressures detrimental to the USA consumer.

While disputes over China's expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea continue to simmer, the first two months of Mr Trump's tenure have been preoccupied with North Korea.

Importantly, China can reciprocate, which would hurt major sectors active in China. He's also criticized China for grabbing jobs that could otherwise go to Americans.

A lot was riding on the two-day summit between the leaders of the world's two largest economies, whose relationship has been rocky of late.

In this context, one of the optimistic interpretations of Trump's positions asserts that tough rhetoric toward China is part of a negotiated strategy aimed at obtaining concessions such as improving access for USA exporters and investors in China.

North Korea is developing missiles capable of hitting the United States.

Thursday's missile attack was a classic operation of the kind United States presidents had used since Ronald Reagan who ordered one against terror bases in Lebanon. "The objective is for us to increase our exports to them".

Assad, however, may have wanted to test Trump to see whether the new U.S. president would swallow a chemical attack in the same passive way as Obama had done. Historical evidence shows that China can not be intimidated or bullied.

There has been some congressional pushback over the strike, especially over the prospect that Trump could move to become more militarily involved in the years-long Syrian conflict without congressional approval.

Certainly, Trump's political and economic aims are centered around the "America First" policy, creating American jobs and substantively reducing the United States trade deficit.

Beijing's most powerful leader in decades reciprocated, inviting the neophyte president on a coveted state visit to China later in the year.

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