US President Donald Trump has congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping for securing a second five-year term as the head of the ruling Communist Party, saying he looks forward to work together towards denuclearising North Korea. Xi, 64, has secured a second five-year term as the head of the ruling Communist Party as it unveiled its new leadership with the Chinese president attaining iconic status enjoyed by modern China’s founder Chairman Mao Zedong. He was elected in a closed-door vote to head the Politburo Standing Committee while premier Li Keqiang retained his seat on the ruling council alongside five new members.
Trump spoke to Xi over phone on the occasion of the closing of China’s Party Congress. He welcomed continued cooperation of the two countries in the years ahead, the White House said. “Trump told Xi he looks forward to visiting China in early November, and to advancing joint efforts to denuclearise North Korea,” the White House said in a statement. North Korea has fired 22 missiles, including two across Japan, during 15 tests since February this year, drawing a sharp reaction from the US and its allies.
Ties between China and North Korea also soured in recent years after the series of nuclear tests and missile launches. China is the sole diplomatic ally and economic lifeline of North Korea. China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported that Xi said he expects to work with Trump to “jointly blueprint future development of China-US ties”. Trump is slated to visit China early next month.
In a tweet, Senator Marco Rubio said that the 19th Party Congress has concluded with Xi more firmly in the grip of power.
China has the world’s second-largest economy after the US, its biggest trading partner. However, relations have been strained by Beijing’s territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea with Washington’s allies in East Asia.