Trump said to visit China in November amid North Korea spat

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Von Braun Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, on Sept 22, 2017.
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Von Braun Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, on Sept 22, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - United States President Donald Trump will visit China in November, a person familiar with his plans said, as tensions flare on the Korean peninsula due to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

White House officials declined to comment. Trump is expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Association of South-east Asian Nations summits in Vietnam and the Philippines in November.

Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Trump to pay a state visit to China when the two leaders met for the first time at Trump's golf resort in Florida in April. During that meeting, Trump notified Xi that he had authorised air strikes on Syria over allegations of chemical-weapons use.

Trump said he'd taken a liking to the Chinese leader, but in the months since, he's reverted to criticising China for its trade policies and has accused the country of failing to exert sufficient pressure on North Korea.

He regularly calls on China to stop North Korea's nuclear advancement and said in July it could "easily" end the crisis.

Leaders in Beijing see the opposite. While the US and China agree the Korean peninsula should be rid of nuclear weapons, they differ on how best to achieve that.

The sense of urgency is heightened in Washington, as the US suddenly finds itself potentially in range of Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons, whereas China and North Korea's other neighbours have lived with the threat for years.

'Very Disappointed'

"I am very disappointed in China," Trump posted on Twitter in July. "Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!"

Trump's trip to China will come more than a year after former President Barack Obama traveled to the country for the Group of 20 nations summit, a visit that underscored the complicated relationship between the world's two largest economies.

When Obama landed in Hangzhou, there were no stairs waiting for him to deplane from Air Force One. The mishap was viewed by many as a snub from the Chinese government. Trump, who was campaigning for the presidency, said at the time that Obama should have returned to the US rather than disembark from the plane's lower set of stairs.

During his term, Obama regularly criticised the Chinese government over its handling of a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, practices targeting US intellectual property and human rights issues.