The US president arrived in China after publicly calling on it to crack down on North Korea. His two-night stay will also have a strong focus on trade.
US President Donald Trump landed in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon after calling on China to help crack down on North Korea.
Trump and First Lady Melania were greeted at the airport by a military band before they headed to the Forbidden City to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. At the Forbidden City Trump reportedly wowed Xi with a video of his granddaughter singing in Chinese, according to Chinese media.
The couple descended from Air Force One down a red-carpeted staircase, in stark contrast to Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, who in 2016 was forced to exit his plane from a little-used exit, in what was widely seen as a snub. The airport ceremony was reportedly well beyond what foreign dignitaries are normally offered.
The White House said Trump would use the two-night trip to request China cut its financial links with North Korea and to abide by United Nations sanctions.
Trump used part of his time in South Korea, the previous stop on his week-long tour of Asia, to call on China and Russia to help reign North Korea in and bring it to the negotiating table.
"To those nations that choose to ignore this threat or, worse still, to enable it, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience," he said before his flight to China.
The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday insisted that Beijing had fully and strictly implemented UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea, but said it would investigate if there were activities that contravene resolutions. It said it still hoped to resolve tensions via talks.
Trump is also under mounting pressure from US business groups to solve trade complaints with Beijing. Washington has accused Beijing of retreating on its promises to open its market. Trump said last week that the $347 billion (€299 billion) trade deficit with China was "so bad that it's embarrassing."
"I don't want to embarrass anybody four days before I land in China, but it's horrible," said Trump.
Trump temporarily shelved trade complaints in April after meeting Xi, hoping to cajole Beijing into helping on North Korea.
On the first day of Trump's visit US and Chinese companies signed 19 business deals worth $9 billion (€7.8 billion) in a ceremony attended by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and China's vice premier Wang Yang.
Yang said the deals would "contribute to the stabilization of the general and overall economic relations between the two countries".
Ross said after the ceremony that Trump would focus on the trade deficit with China. "Addressing the imbalance in China trade has been the central focus of collaborative discussions between President Trump and President Xi and achieving fair and reciprocal treatment for the companies is a shared objective," Ross said.
aw/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)