Trump in Paris for Counterterror Talks, Bastille Day Celebrations
U.S. President Donald Trump arrived Thursday in Paris for counterterrorism talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and to mark the French national holiday, Bastille Day, along with the 100th anniversary of U.S. troops entering World War 1.
A year ago Trump described Paris as "so, so, so out of control, so dangerous," because of terrorists operating there. More recently he suggested that Islamic State attacks in Paris had diminished its standing as a world-class destination.
As he pulled the United States out of the 2015 international Paris accord to control greenhouse gas emissions, Trump said he was elected to represent "Pittsburgh, not Paris." Nevertheless, he subsequently accepted Macron's invitation to attend the country's annual mid-July celebrations.
In addition to meeting with Macron on Thursday, Trump will also lunch with U.S. military officials and tour the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
"We will talk about all the issues which are of interest to us both, including those about which we have disagreements when we have them, but also a lot of the issues on which we are working together -- the terrorism threat, the crises in Syria and Libya, and a lot of issues which are of interest to us both," Macron said ahead of Trump's visit.
A senior U.S. official told reporters the White House expects the civil war in Syria and U.S.-French cooperation both there and on other counterterror issues to take up most of the discussion, while there could also be some follow-up to last week's G-20 summit in Germany.
France is part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since late 2014. A large majority of those strikes this year have taken place in Syria, where the militants have their de facto capital in the city of Raqqa.
Trump and Macron are both in their first year in office and have shown policy differences when it comes to international efforts to combat climate change. But they also share certain goals, such as reducing the number of workers in their respective governments.
A senior Trump administration official described the relationship between the presidents as "very positive."
On Friday, Trump and his wife, Melania, will attend the annual Bastille Day parade, which will include both French and U.S. military personnel.
"The fact that we participated in such a major way in World War I, side by side with the French, is a clear parallel to what we're doing today," the senior administration official said. "We still live in a dangerous world. We still live in a world that has many, many threats."
China Posts Double Digit Trade Increase with North Korea in First Half of 2017
China says its trade with North Korea rose in the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period the year before.
China's Customs Administration announced Thursday that trade with the international pariah North grew 10.5 percent to $$2.5 billion between January and June, with exports soaring to 29.1 percent during that period.
The figures are likely to increase calls for Beijing to pressure Pyongyang, its main diplomatic and economic ally, to curb its nuclear and missile testing program. U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at China's trade with North Korea in a tweet last week, claiming it had grown "almost 40 percent" in the first quarter of this year.
Trump angrily ended his tweet: "So much for China working with us -- but we had to give it a try!"
But Customs spokesman Huang Songping insisted China was upholding United Nations sanctions on North Korea, citing figures showing a 13.2 percent decline in imports from the regime during the same period, with sharp decreases every month since March.