Donald Trump showered Chinese leader Xi Jinping with praise during talks in Beijing Thursday, but prodded his host to work fast to help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, warning "time is quickly running out."
Speaking on the second day of a trip to Beijing marked by pomp and pageantry, the U.S. president also decried China's "one-sided and unfair" trade surplus with the United States but told Xi "I don't blame China," as the two countries signed more than $250 billion in business deals.
Xi hosted Trump at the imposing Great Hall of the People, next to Tiananmen Square, for the main event of the US president's five-nation tour of Asia.
While the two leaders exchanged pleasantries in keeping with their professed friendship -- with Trump calling Xi a "very special man" -- the former property magnate made clear that he expected China to do more to rein in North Korea.
"We must act fast. And hopefully China will act faster and more effectively on this problem than anyone," Trump said.
"China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard," the US leader said.
"I know one thing about your president: If he works on it hard, it will happen. There's no doubt about it," he said, while thanking Xi for his efforts to restrict trade with Pyongyang.
The U.S. administration thinks China's economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Xi said the two countries reiterated their "firm commitment" to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the implementation of UN resolutions.
He also repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China was ready to discuss the "pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula."
Though China has backed UN sanctions, U.S. officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorized trade along the North Korean border.
But China has resisted taking more drastic steps, such as halting crude oil exports to the North. Beijing fears that squeezing Pyongyang too hard could cause the regime to collapse.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there are signs that sanctions are "creating some stress within the North Korean economy," but that Xi told Trump they could take "a little while" to make a dent.
Trump, who may meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam on Friday, also urged Russia to "help rein in this potentially very tragic situation."