Australia Praises Trump for North Korea Summit

March 4, 2019 Updated: March 4, 2019

Scott Morrison has heaped praise on U.S. President Donald Trump for trying to strike a deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.

After the two leaders failed to reach an agreement during a summit in Vietnam last week, the prime minister said achieving denuclearisation in North Korea was a difficult task.

“His determination to keep pressing forwardthere will be frustrationsbut I really commend his heartfelt commitment to try and make some progress in this area,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Mar. 4.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the two-day talks “continued a path in the right direction.”

“These are very complex matters,” Senator Payne said.

“We know that they were never going to be resolved overnight, and I commend both the president of the United States and Kim Jong Un for the engagement they have had during these sessions.”

The federal opposition is similarly upbeat about the Vietnam summit, with Labor senator Penny Wong saying “the only thing worse than no deal is a bad deal,” and it was positive the two leaders were talking.

‘I Am Always Prepared to Walk’

President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without a deal sent a clear message to Beijing that he has a strong card to play in trade talks.

Trump met the North Korean leader for a second summit last week, in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, where both sides failed to reach a deal on denuclearization because of a dispute over lifting economic sanctions in exchange for partial steps toward denuclearization.

“I am always prepared to walk,” Trump said on Feb. 28 at a press conference in Hanoi. “I’m never afraid to walk from a deal. And I would do that with China, too, if it didn’t work out.”

Gordon Chang, an expert on China and North Korea, told Fox News that when Trump walked away in Hanoi, he showed Beijing he wasn’t afraid to leave a bad deal. “I think China has to reassess their approach to trade talks,” Chang said.

Trump announced in February that he would meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in hopes of finalizing a trade deal. Washington and Beijing are now discussing a late March meeting.

On Feb. 24, Trump announced in a tweet that he held off implementing a planned tariff increase on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese imports, due to the progress made in the last round of trade talks in Washington.

He said that the United States had made “substantial progress” in negotiations with China on important structural issues, including protection of intellectual property and an end to forced technology transfers.

Tariffs had been planned to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 1. But Trump agreed to postpone that increase in hopes of finalizing a deal during a summit with Xi at his Florida resort.

In a recent tweet, Trump also asked China to “immediately remove” all tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, including beef and pork, since both sides were “moving along nicely” with trade talks.

“This is very important for our great farmers and me,” he wrote.

The Trump administration believes Beijing has reasons to compromise as economic woes continue to put pressure on the Chinese regime. Economists predict that Beijing could soon implement more extensive stimulus measures to counter the weak economy.

“Our stock market is almost at its all-time high.  Our economy is incredible,” Trump said at the press conference. “And with China, they’re having some difficulty, as you know.  But I think that a lot of the difficulty is because of the tariffs that they’re having.”

Under the weight of U.S. tariffs, the Chinese economy weakened further last year. The growth of the world’s second-largest economy slowed to its weakest pace in nearly three decades. If both sides fail to reach a deal at Mar-a-Lago and trade tensions resume, China’s troubles will deepen, according to analysts.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Mar. 3 that Washington and Beijing are close to a trade deal and a formal agreement could be reached at the Trump–Xi summit around March 27, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Epoch Times reporter Emel Akan and the Australian Associated Press contributed to this article

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