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Trump greeted in China by flag-waving schoolchildren

Trump landed Wednesday in Beijing ahead of a meeting with President Xi Jinping President has touted ..

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  • Trump landed Wednesday in Beijing ahead of a meeting with President Xi Jinping
  • President has touted his close relationship with Xi, calling it 'outstanding'
  • But he says that won't stop him from getting tough with China over trade
  • North Korea is expected to dominate the agenda as it did when pair met in April
  • But first, Trump and his wife Melania Trump will tour Beijing's famed former imperial palace, the Forbidden City, and take in the opera with Xi
  • Last year when he visited China, Obama was prevented from using his stairs to deplane Air Force One in a major snub
  • Trump didn't have that problem: Chinese authorities had a rolling staircase tall enough to reach the front door of the plane

By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent In Beijing, China and David Martosko, Us Political Editor For Dailymail.com In Seoul, South Korea

Published: 21:20 EST, 7 November 2017 | Updated: 05:51 EST, 8 November 2017

President Donald Trump took in an extra special performance of Peking opera on Wednesday evening in Beijing during a grand tour of the Forbidden City put on by China's Xi Jinping.

Trump was greeted Wednesday by a military honor guard and flag-waving schoolchildren in China, the third country in his 12-day Asia tour.

U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad met Trump and his secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, after Air Force One stopped on the tarmac in Beijing.

The president and first lady Melania are headed for a tour of the Forbidden City and a meeting with President Xi Jinping and first lady Madame Peng Liyuan.

Trump deplaned from Air Force One without incident, avoiding the embarrassment Barack Obama suffered just a year ago as he arrived for the annual Group of 20 summit.

Obama was humiliated by having to exit from the belly of the aircraft in China because authorities didn't prepare a staircase tall enough for him to walk off the front of the plane.

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday.

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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One in Beijing, China on Wednesday

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived on Air Force One in Beijing, China on Wednesday

Trump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menaceTrump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menace

Trump left Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on his way to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk about global trade and the North Korean nuclear menace

A U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nationsA U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nations

A U.S> and Chinese honor guard met the Trumps, along with a cadre of schoolchildren waving the flags of both nations

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday, avoiding any appearance of the kind of insult that greeted former president Barack Obama in 2016Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday, avoiding any appearance of the kind of insult that greeted former president Barack Obama in 2016

Chinese officials rolled a large set of stairs to the aircraft's door on Wednesday, avoiding any appearance of the kind of insult that greeted former president Barack Obama in 2016

Obama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snubObama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snub

Obama was denied use of an airport staircase when he deplaned Air Force One last September as he arrived in China for the annual Group of 20 summit – a move that was seen globally as a major snub

Trump's visit to the Forbidden City will include tea with his Chinese counterpart, whom he entertained at his Florida Mar-a-Lago club in April.

The two first couples will also take in a performance of Peking opera, a distinctively Chinese art form that combines music, mime, dance and acrobatics.

The Forbidden City, now a major tourist attraction, has its roots in the 15th Century and was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty through 1912.

On the agenda for Trump during his Beijing visit are requests for a hardline approach to economically paralyzing North Korea, and talks aimed at shrinking America's massive trade deficit with China.

Last year the Chinese sold $347 billion more in goods to the U.S. than America sold into the world's largest communist nation.

A quiet dinner with Xi and Madame Peng in the Forbidden City will follow the opera performance.

Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the PhilippinesTrump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Trump is on a five-country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Trump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in ChinaTrump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in China

Trump roared with approval as he waded through a sea of children on the tarmac Wednesday in China

Trump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him tooTrump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him too

Trump said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi Jinping, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him too

Trump left South Korea on Wednesday after delivering a speech to the country's National Assembly. He said in a tweet Wednesday morning that he was looking forward to again seeing Xi, 'who is just off his great political victory.'

He said Monday inJapan that he's fond of Xi, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him.

But he won't allow their mutual affection to cloud his judgement, Trump asserted, as he pledged to take 'very, very strong action' against China and other countries that have been treating the United States 'unfairly' in the trade arena.

'He represents China. I represent the United States,' Trump said at a news conference in Tokyo.

On the way to Beijing, a senior White House official told reporters that the president plans to keep up his habit of tweeting while he's in China, even though Chinese citizens can't do it.

'The president will tweet whatever he wants,' the official said. 'That’s his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not?'

'So long as he can access his Twitter account – because Twitter is banned in China along with Facebook and most of the other social media. I’m sure we’ve got the gear aboard this airplane to make it happen. But it is noteworthy that none of the major western platforms for social media are even allowed to operate in China.'

On Tuesday in Seoul, Trump pressured Xi's government to totally isolate Kim Jong-un, the 33-year-old despot across the border, during remarks in Seoul.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in AprilTrump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was looking forward to renewing his bond with Xi, whom he welcomed to his Florida Mar-a-Lago private resort in April

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in BeijingTrump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in Beijing

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi Jinping calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade in Beijing

In this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in BeijingIn this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in Beijing

In this photo taken on October 31, 2017, Chinese paramilitary guards walk in The Forbidden City in Beijing

All responsible nations must cut off North Korea's cash flow by imposing and enforcing international sanctions on Kim and his government, Trump declared, singling out China and Russia, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

'It's time to act with urgency and with great determination,' the U.S. president said in a joint press conference with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Beijing is the third destination on a five-nation hustle across eastern Asia.

As with every other stop on this trip, North Korea is expected to dominate Xi and Trump's discussions.

But in Beijing, more than anywhere else during the visit, Trump – a former titan of real estate – is also under pressure to address the regional trade practices that he said as a candidate he would fix.

Trump pounded China for alleged currency manipulation in the presidential election last year that unexpectedly put him in power. He's said as recently as February that the Chinese were 'grand champions' at the economic trick.

By artificially devaluing its currency, the yuan, Beijing has been able to been able to lower the price of its exports, 'stealing' American jobs, Trump has said.

Trump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to BeijingTrump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to Beijing

Trump will tour a famous imperial palace and take in the opera today today with first lady Melania Trump as he brings his high-wire circuit of Asia to Beijing

His assessment was rejected by the International Monetary Fund last year, and Trump's own administration has shied away from shackling China with the designation.

Since his April summit with Xi, the U.S. president has also backed off his verbal assault.

'The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding,' Trump said after less than a day of talks with the Chinese president and his representatives.

'We look forward to being together many times in the future. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.'

Days later Trump was still gushing about his weekend in Florida with Xi in what amounted to a total about-face of his previous criticisms.

'Now what am I going to do? Start a trade war with China while in the middle of him working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?' he asked rhetorically in an interview with Fox & Friends.

Trump said later that month that it wouldn't make sense to label Xi's country a currency manipulator after the Chinese leader offered to assist the U.S. in its efforts to constrain North Korea.

'Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!' Trump tweeted.

China's stepped up efforts to choke off Kim Jong-un's finances has not kept Trump from complaining about the gross trade deficit between the two countries, nor has it had an immediate effect on the United States' enforcement of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo late last month that the U.S. loses 'hundreds of billions a year' a year to China.

Trump singled out China on Tuesday in South Korea as a country that needs to do more to cripple North Korea's nuclear aggression Trump singled out China on Tuesday in South Korea as a country that needs to do more to cripple North Korea's nuclear aggression 

Trump singled out China on Tuesday in South Korea as a country that needs to do more to cripple North Korea's nuclear aggression

Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)

Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on his home soil for the first time (the two are pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)

'We lose with almost every country, we have massive deficits,' the billionaire president insisted. 'We can't allow the world to look at us as a whipping post. Not gonna happen, anymore.'

Monday, at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump told a reporter who asked how his administration plans to enforce its mandate of a 'free and open' Indo-Asia Pacific without riling up China, a major power on the continent, that he would not allow the communist country to take advantage of the U.S.

'You will be seeing things of countries that have been treating the United States and the United States worker and companies…our country, and our workers very unfairly, you will be seeing that the United States will take very, very strong action,' Trump said.

The legal work is mostly finished, he revealed. 'And you're going to see a very big difference, and it's going to happen very soon. Because the United States, by many countries, has been treated very, very unfairly when it comes to trade.'

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in AprilTrump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April

The administration believes that China is behind as much as $600 million in IP theft through forced technology transfers.

China's Commerce Ministry has called the probe 'irresponsible' and 'not objective.' Beijing would almost certainly bring additional U.S. action before the World Trade Organization.

But Trump could unilaterally impose tariffs on Beijing through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 if USTR determines that China is engaging in 'unfair trade practices' – a powerful weapon if he decides to use it.

Trump has been hesitant to act against Beijing so long as Xi goes along with his plans to suffocate North Korea's nuclear ambition.

The resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South KoreaThe resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea

The resident left Seoul on Wednesday after meeting with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea

Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the USTrump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US

Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US

At a briefing with reporters on Sunday evening in Tokyo, a senior White House official insisted that the economic and security concerns of the Trump administration are wholly separate issues when it comes to North Korea and trade with countries in the Indo-Pacific.

'The United States isn't going to barter away our interests on the trade front in order to make gains doing what the entire world has, more or less, obligated itself to do, and that is to contain and confront the threat from North Korea,' the official asserted. 'So I don't see a comingling of those two issues.'

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Australia

Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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