WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to make a stop in China in November during his first official visit to Asia, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, a trip that will come amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear tests.
Washington and its allies have said there is a growing urgency for China, North Korea’s top ally and trading partner, to apply more pressure on its already isolated neighbour to get it to back down on its nuclear weapons and missiles programs.
Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Trump to visit China during their meeting in April in Palm Beach, Florida. The two leaders also met on the sidelines on the G20 summit in July.
Trump is set to attend the U.S.-ASEAN summit and the East Asia summit in the Philippines in November, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.
China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Trump’s potential visit.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK cited unnamed diplomatic sources saying that Trump was also considering visiting Japan and South Korea during his Asian tour in November.
In February, Trump accepted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s invitation to visit Japan by the end of the year.
“The February agreement is still valid. We would definitely like to make it happen sometime within this year. But no specific timing has been fixed yet,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.
Also, the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun said on Wednesday Japan, the United States and South Korea are in final stages of talks to hold a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
The newspaper, citing unnamed government sources, reported the meeting between Trump, Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in could take place on Sept. 21 and would focus on bolstering cooperation in response to North Korean provocation.
On Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to step up sanctions on North Korea, with its profitable textile exports now banned and fuel supplies capped.
After several days of negotiations on the resolution, Washington dropped several measures to win the support of Russia and China, including a bid for an oil embargo and the blacklisting of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the national airline.
In Hong Kong, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told the South China Morning Post the results of a U.S.-led investigation into alleged Chinese intellectual property theft would be announced before the Beijing summit to reset bilateral trade.
The far-right architect of Trump’s 2016 election victory, Bannon told an investor conference, organised by a unit of China’s largest brokerage, that Trump and Xi had a rapport that should enable them to work out differences, said an attendee at the meeting which was closed to the press.
Bannon, who was let go by Trump last month, told a private lunch gathering in Hong Kong that he still “speaks with President Donald Trump every two to three days,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Reporting by Steve Holland, Roberta Rampton, David Brunnstom in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing, Venus Wu, Julie Zhu, Stefanie McIntyre and Oscar Chan in Hong Kong, Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Howard Goller & Simon Cameron-Moore