While Donald Trump busied himself preparing the country for its annual July 4th celebrations by tweeting an anti-CNN meme with questionable origins, the President of the United States managed to squeeze in some telephone time with world leaders. One of these included a chat late Sunday with Chinese President Xi Pinping, who reportedly complained to Trump about the “negative factors” affecting U.S.-China relations in the wake of their joint efforts pertaining to North Korea. All the diplomatically atrocious things former President Barack Obama purportedly did notwithstanding, it seems Trump’s handling of China isn’t going so well.
According to the Washington Post, the Chinese Defense Ministry claims America has “seriously damaged strategic mutual trust” between the two nations, especially in regards to the previous and current administration’s stances on China’s increased militarization of the South China Sea. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of “serious political and military provocation” in the area after the USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of a small island controlled by China on Sunday.
Considering the proximity of the Stethem incident to Pinping and Trump’s phone call, the former made sure to share his concerns with his American counterpart. According to a White House statement, Trump dug his heels in on the North Korea issue by “[raising] the growing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.” Yet Pinping stuck to his complaints about the “negative factors” straining their relationship, especially his insistence that Trump “handle the Taiwan issue appropriately” following his administration’s near-upset in February.
(Via Washington Post)