Airstrikes on Syria might also send message to North Korea

US First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump pose with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan upon their arrival to the Mar-a Lago estate in West Palm Beach Florida

US missile strikes on a Syrian airbase came as President Donald Trump and China leader Xi JInping, meeting for the first time, were discussing what should be done about North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction.

The pro-independence Liberty Times said Trump was "shaking hands with Xi Jinping with his left hand and launching missiles with his right" to pressure China to rein in North Korea.

Trade: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said both sides agreed on a "100-day plan" to address their trade imbalance, without giving details. According to US sources, Xi expressed to Trump his understanding for the attack.

"North Korea's posture has to change before there's any basis for dialogue or discussions", Tillerson said.

Experts say China, which along with Russian Federation has repeatedly blocked United Nations resolutions against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, will have been both discombobulated and upset at how Trump's air strikes overshadowed the summit.

China and South Korea agreed on Monday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carried out nuclear or long-range missile tests, a senior official in Seoul said.

However, after meetings on Thursday, Trump announced he had ordered missile strikes against Syria - placing Xi in a somewhat precarious position.

The launch was North Korea's latest in a long series of missile and nuclear tests that have accelerated in their variation and intensity over the last two years.

Taking action against North Korea has been a sticking point in US talks with the Chinese.

He is also expected to seek assurances that Mr Trump will not interfere in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea or question the "One China" policy by reaching out to Taiwan's leader again, as he did during the transition.

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Trump asked Xi for ideas on how to proceed, but held out the possibility of unilateral action.

The only other foreign leader to be hosted at Mar-a-Lago during Trump's presidency so far is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close USA ally.

USA -backed rebels groups have long pleaded for more US intervention and complained that Washington has only fought the Islamic State group. "It is significant that comprehensive and inclusive discussions took place putting considerable weight on the agenda on our key interests, the North Korea nuclear issue and the Korea-U.S. alliance issues".

Contrast this treatment of President Trump with the last time President Obama visited China. Chinese analysts also concluded the attack on Syria, launched in response to the al-Assad government's launch of a chemical attack on civilians which killed at least 75, was a signal to Xi the administration was prepared to order similar attacks on North Korea and its nuclear program.

Xi was to take a sightseeing tour, including a stop at Beluga Point, a pullout on the scenic Seward Highway about 15 miles south of Anchorage.

Mr Trump appeared light-hearted earlier as he greeted Mr Xi at Mar-A-Lago, gesturing and pointing to journalists as they tussled to get a picture of the leaders together for the first time.

Xi said China is pushing forward the supply-side structural reform, boosting domestic demand and increasing the share of the services industry in its national economy.

China's official news agency Xinhua said Saturday that the "positive and fruitful" meeting has sent a "clear-cut" message that Washington and Beijing can become great cooperative partners. He's also criticized China for grabbing jobs that could otherwise go to Americans.

His Cabinet secretaries said Trump indeed confronted Xi. But he said Trump now needed to work with Congress to set a future course.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are exclusively those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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