Donald Trump tries to ease tensions with Xi Jinping during G20 summit

United States President Donald Trump has made efforts to ease tensions with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting during the G20 summit talks in Germany.

On Sunday (NZ time) the two leaders agreed to progress work on two pressing issues - the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and bilateral trade deals.

During last year's election campaign, Mr Trump critiqued China's trade practices, but it appears he has softened his views and says he wants to work with China around curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Several days before the G20 talks Mr Trump complained that trade between China and North Korea had grown.

Mr Trump has expressed agitation at China's role in North Korea, more recently after Pyongyang launched a missile that some experts believed had the capacity to reach coastal parts of the United States.

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company, added China to a global human trafficking list and accused a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.

The White House is also debating trade actions against Beijing, including tariffs on its steel exports. 

But relations between the two leaders were less strained on Sunday, when they met toward the end of the summit.

Mr Trump told Mr Xi it was an "honour to have you as a friend," and that he appreciated actions he had taken on North Korea.

"As far as North Korea is concerned, we will have, eventually, success. It may take longer than I'd like. It may take longer than you'd like. But there will be success in the end one way or the other."

State news agency Xinhua said Mr Xi told Mr Trump that stronger China-US ties were useful for stability and prosperity amid global conflicts, and had made "new progress" in some areas "despite some sensitive issues". 

The summit united Mr Trump and Mr Xi at a time when Washington is urging Beijing to rein in North Korea, and is threatening the Chinese with retaliated trade restrictions.

World leaders at the summit increased pressure on Mr Trump to compromise on climate and trade.

Earlier this year Mr Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement, and championed an 'America first' economic policy, while criticising Germany and China for taking advantage of the US.

Mr Trump's policies have further united Europe and China.