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Donald Trump has called on North Korea to “make a deal” on the eve of a visit to China where Pyongyang’s military build-up and trade will be on the agenda. In a shift from his usually combative tone towards the rogue state, Mr Trump said diplomacy could be an option in dealing with the North’s military provocations. "It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world," Mr Trump said, at a joint press conference with Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, in Seoul. Mr Trump also praised Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, for being “very helpful” on the North Korea issue and appeared to indicate that China could unveil fresh measures to confront Pyongyang, saying: "We'll find out how helpful soon.” The US president will arrive in Beijing on Wednesday for what could be the trickiest leg of his mammoth five-nation Asian tour. He wants to press Chinese leaders on what he considers to be ‘unfair’ trading practices, but is also seeking tougher action from China in reining in North Korea’s nuclear programme. China has traditionally been the North’s only diplomatic ally and a key trading partner. Under pressure from the US, it suspended coal imports and enforced UN sanctions in key industries earlier this year. But China remains an economic lifeline for Kim Jong-un’s regime as it supplies most of its energy. Calls for oil sanctions now certain to grow louder. https://t.co/U3lvtU5q8m— Neil Connor (@neilaconnor) September 3, 2017 "China's trying very hard to solve the problem with North Korea,” Mr Trump added. "If we get China, if we get Russia ... we think that things will happen and they could happen very quickly.” Observers believe that China is becoming increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang’s provocations after Kim’s regime carried out a series missile tests and detonated what it claimed to be a hydrogen bomb earlier this year. Paul Haenle, who served on the National Security Council under George W Bush and Barack Obama, said he expected that China might impose “additional punishments” on Pyongyang during Mr Trump’s visit, but he doubted whether it would be the result of US pressure. He said: “At this point, it is not pressure from the US that will change Beijing’s calculus, but actions by Pyongyang that impinge on China’s sovereignty or threaten the credibility of the Communist Party of China.” It also appears highly unlikely that Beijing would be receptive to pressure from Mr Trump on trade. Washington said ahead of the trip that the US President will send a “clear message’ for China to stop undermining US companies by giving state support to its own firms. But a tough stance from Mr Trump during his trip would infuriate Chinese leaders who are busy rolling out a “state visit-plus” for the US leader. “Instead of criticising his hosts,” an editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper said, “Trump should seek to promote cooperation.” Protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump hold placards while waiting for Trump's motorcade to pass by in central Seoul Credit: Reuters The commentary, which is titled “cooperation would benefit US more than blame game,” said Mr Trump’s claim that the US was at a disadvantage because of a huge trade imbalance between the two counties was “misleading”. “Trump's lambasting of the US' trade partners and his vows that under his administration the theft of American prosperity will end play well with the crowd….and no doubt they will serve to distract attention from his troubles at home,” it said. “But they do nothing to help revitalise the US economy.” Mr Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday at Beijing’s Forbidden City, the former imperial palace for China’s dynastic rulers, the Global Times newspaper said. A notice on the website of the major tourist attraction said it would be closed due to an “important event”. The highly choreographed event – which is also expected to involve the families of both leaders - will be followed by an official welcome ceremony on Thursday. Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said Mr Xi and Mr Trump will also have “informal get-togethers” during the visit. Mr Trump said he had "developed a friendship" with Mr Xi when the pair met at the US president’s Florida resort in April. Many Chinese are curious about Mr Trump and his family, particularly his daughter, Ivanka, who is not travelling to China. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency Credit: Reuters North Korea was a major issue during the first stage of Mr Trump’s 11-day Asian tour, which saw him visit Japan until Tuesday and then South Korea. Mr Haenle, who is also the director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, said Pyongyang’s military build-up was also expected to be on the agenda in China. “The stakes are high for Trump when he visits China,” said Mr Haenle. “Not only are the issues some of the most important on the US foreign policy and economic agenda – namely North Korea and Chinese trade practices – but the visit also represents Trump’s greatest moment of leverage with Xi.” But observers generally believe that apart from a series of trade deals, little will be announced or decided during the visit. Mr Trump is expected to stay at the St. Regis Hotel in central Beijing. Police had cordoned off the roads around the hotel, while some of the local businesses appeared to be closed. Meanwhile Mr Trump was served a fermented soy sauce during his South Korea trip which was 360 years old – a century older than America itself. The sauce accompanied a beef rib dish served in a four-course meal at the presidential Blue House in honour of Mr Trump's visit. Additional reporting by Christine Wei.
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