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Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP

President Trump has tried using economic leverage over China as a way to coerce them into helping the U.S. with North Korea. It hasn't worked well so far, but Trump's optimism on securing China's help seemed to come back today when he tweeted about his "excellent meeting on trade & North Korea" with China's President Xi Jinping.

But Trump's tone on China changes month to month, and there's been a clear difference in his views on Twitter compared to what he says to President Xi in person.

Why it matters: Axios' Jonathan Swan points out Trump tried his charm on Xi — lavishing him in hospitality at Mar-a-Lago — but has already discovered that Xi cannot, or is unwilling to, do what's required to stop North Korea's rush to develop nukes — so now he's getting tough on trade with Xi. But his ever-changing tone could discourage Xi from cooperating.

Today during their meeting at the G20 Summit, Trump told President Xi:

"We are developing, and have developed, a wonderful relationship. I appreciate the things that you have done relevant to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea — a problem that something has to be done about. And I'm sure whether it's on trade or whether it's on North Korea ... we will come to a successful conclusion. ... And I know that China in particular, which is a very great trading partner, we will be able to do something that is equitable and reciprocal."

Just this week he tweet-shamed China about their trade with North Korea: "Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!"

In June, Trump's view on China wasn't great: "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!"

In April, Trump said things were "tremendous": "It was a great honor to have President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China as our guests in the United States. Tremendous..."

  • But later that same month, he changed his tone, a few times: "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A."
  • "Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea."
  • "Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!"
  • "I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A."
  • And he used economic leverage against them: "I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!"

In March, Trump insisted China wasn't doing enough:

"North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been "playing" the United States for years. China has done little to help!"

In January, Trump tweeted: "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!"

Programming note: In the official White House readout of their meeting, it referred to Xi as the leader of the "Republic of China," which is actually Taiwan. Xi is the leader of the People's Republic of China.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
25 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

Updated 28 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer but picked up a new rival.