US President Donald Trump has praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a “highly respected and powerful representative of his people” during his first state visit to China.
Trump showered his host with accolades on Friday near the fag-end of his two-day trip. He held several meetings and reportedly sought to convince the Chinese leader to do more to reduce a trade deficit with China and restrain nuclear-armed North Korea.
“My meetings with President Xi Jinping were very productive on both trade and the subject of North Korea,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“He is a highly respected and powerful representative of his people. It was great being with him and Madame Peng Liyuan!” he said, referring to Xi’s wife.
During Trump’s visit, American and Chinese companies signed more than $250 billion in business deals.
Trump blamed former US administrations for allowing the $350 billion deficit with China to balloon over the years.
“I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage of the US on trade leading up to a point where the US is losing $100’s of billions,” he wrote.
“How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue? I would’ve done same!”
During their talks on Thursday, Trump thanked Xi for his supporting United Nations sanctions on North Koreans.
Trump said Washington and Beijing have agreed on the need for North Korea to completely denuclearize.
China is North Korea’s main ally but has had its own concerns about Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs.
Tensions have been building on the peninsula following a series of nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang as well as threats of war and personal insults traded between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Trump had threatened the North with military action during his first two stops in Japan and South Korea.