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Trump says he had good 'chemistry', 'bonding' with China's Xi

© AFP | US President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he had forged good "chemistry" with China's Xi Jinping during their summit in Florida, adding that he believes Beijing is willing to work with Washington on North Korea.

Trump and Xi met on Thursday and Friday at the US leader's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida -- their first face-to-face talks, aimed at breaking the ice between the leaders of the world's top two economies.

The summit was somewhat overshadowed by Trump's decision to launch a cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad's forces, but both sides have been positive about the outcome.

"We had a very good bonding. I think we had a very good chemistry together. I think he wants to help us with North Korea. We talked trade," Trump told a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"I was very impressed with President Xi and I think he means well and I think he wants to help. We'll see whether or not he does."

The two leaders followed up the summit late Tuesday what the White House called a "very productive" telephone call.

China's foreign ministry said Wednesday that Xi had urged Trump to use "peaceful means" to resolve tensions in the Korean peninsula, after the US president sent a carrier-led strike group to the area.

Trump's press conference came shortly after the release of an interview the Republican billionaire gave to The Wall Street Journal, in which he said Beijing was not manipulating its currency to gain a trade advantage.

Those remarks appeared to lay to rest a simmering issue that threatened to derail relations between Washington and Beijing.

The US leader had promised to label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office, a move that would have initiated a process that includes talks but could lead to imposing unilateral trade sanctions, which almost certainly would have sparked retaliation.

But Trump told the newspaper Beijing has not been manipulating its currency for months -- a point economists have been making for some time.

© 2017 AFP