Xi Jinping calls Donald Trump for ‘peaceful’ North Korea solution

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Beijing | April 12, 2017 11:08 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping today urged Donald Trump to peacefully resolve raging tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme

Xi Jinping’s phone call came after Donald Trump turned to Twitter to vent his frustrations over North Korea’s provocative behaviour. (Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping today urged Donald Trump to peacefully resolve raging tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme after the US President warned that Washington would “solve the problem” on its own if Beijing did not rein in its close ally. Xi spoke over phone to Trump as a United States aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson churned towards the Korean peninsula, raising regional tensions. He said that China sticks to the target of the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and that China is committed to peace and stability of the peninsula.

China holds that the issue should be solved through peaceful means, said Xi, adding that Beijing is ready to maintain communication and coordination with the US on the issue, the state media reported, days after the two leaders met for the first time in Florida.

Trump has repeatedly called on China to do more to rein in its reclusive neighbour and close ally, which has stepped up its missile development and nuclear programme since 2016.

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Xi’s phone call came after Trump turned to Twitter to vent his frustrations over North Korea’s provocative behaviour.

“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,” he had tweeted yesterday.

“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.,” Trump had said in a second tweet.

Following the Trump-Xi meeting, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that China understood how dangerous North Korea’s nuclear programme had become and had agreed action must be taken to stop it.

China has not signaled any clear change in policy towards Pyongyang and Xi’s language followed China’s usual script on North Korea.

However, Wednesday’s read-out was the first time China confirmed in detail that the two leaders had directly discussed North Korea, CNN commented.

Two Chinese statements released directly after the Mar-A- Lago meeting did not mention North Korea by name, even though the country had been expected to dominate discussions, it said.

Meanwhile, Trump has also commented on the armada that the US has deployed to the Korean peninsula.

“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.”

A series of provocative North Korean missile tests have stoked fears in Washington that Pyongyang may soon have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.

North Korea is also reported to be preparing to test a nuclear weapon in the coming days.

The US show of force prompted the North to declare it was “ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”

“This goes to prove that the US reckless moves for invading the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have reached a serious phase,” North Korea’s official news agency KCNA quoted a spokesman of the country’s foreign ministry as saying.

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