HASH(0xb3e724)

Xi stresses China’s North Korea concerns in talk with Trump

Xi stresses China's North Korea concerns in talk with Trump

Beijing is willing to work with Washington on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program but wants a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict, Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump in a phone call Wednesday.

Xi’s comments came after Trump tweeted that China should do more on an issue that Washington sees as an increasingly urgent threat, or else the U.S. would go it alone.

China’s calls for calm come as tensions have risen with the dispatch of a U.S. aircraft carrier to the area and the deployment of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry for their biggest-ever joint military exercises.

During their phone call, Xi told Trump that China is willing to continue working with the U.S. on denuclearization, according to a brief description of the call released by the Chinese foreign ministry.

“China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula, insists on maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving the problem through peaceful means,” Xi was quoted as saying.

The two leaders spoke Tuesday night Washington time after Trump said an “armada” of vessels including the USS Carl Vinson carrier was steaming to waters off the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wednesday at a regular briefing in Beijing that it was a “good thing” that the two leaders were in touch again days after meeting in Florida.

Regarding the U.S. navy strike force’s arrival in the western Pacific, Lu said: “We hope all parties will refrain from irresponsible actions that would be very dangerous at the moment.”

North Korean state media has warned of a nuclear attack on the United States in retaliation for any signs of aggression, a threat that has been made numerous times before.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump suggested the U.S. could “solve” the North Korea issue unilaterally.

“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 tweeted.

In another tweet, he sought to persuade Xi to put pressure on North Korea in exchange for a good trade deal with the U.S. He wrote: “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!”

Trump and other U.S. officials have repeatedly called on China to leverage its status as North Korea’s biggest economic partner and source of food and fuel aid to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

China says it is in full compliance with sanctions enacted under U.N. Security Council resolutions. In February, China suspended imports of coal from North Korea — a key source of foreign currency for Kim Jong Un’s hard-line Communist regime.

The U.S. and other foreign governments have long overestimated China’s ability to affect Pyongyang’s behaviour, said Ruan Zongze, a U.S. relations expert at the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank run by the foreign ministry.

“There’s a view that China possesses the key to solving the peninsula problem, or that China has the faucet and that all China has to do is shut it off and the peninsula issue is solved,” Ruan said.

“In fact, I think the outside exaggerates the sort of role China can play. China isn’t really as influential as all that,” he said.

Beijing’s insistence on a peaceful approach to resolving the issue is rooted in its belief that any attempt to denuclearize the North by force would bring cataclysmic results upon all sides, including China, Ruan said.

“When it comes to the issue of the Korean Peninsula, violence is not an option,” he said.

Beijing says it will not countenance measures that could bring about a collapse of the regime that could release a flood of refugees across its border, destabilize northeast Asia and result in a U.S.-friendly government taking power in Pyongyang.

Christopher Bodeen And Gerry Shih, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Victoria Police meet Aboriginal activists for afternoon flick

The group gathered as part of ongoing series of events supporting reconciliation efforts

Sooke hires two additional firefighters

Ben Temple and Grayson Kerr began Nov. 6

EMCS Sr. Girls volleyball team making Sooke history

Team headed to compete in Island championships for first time in 15 years this weekend

Dance Victoria Nutcracker contest returns to Oak Bay village

Find Mr. Nutcracker and Tommy Tempo now through Nov. 26 for chacne to win ballet tickets

VIDEO: Uptown Noodlebox restaurant catches fire

Daycare evacuated while crews fight kitchen fire

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

Hammy dodges conservation officers

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Weekend hit list: Things to do in Greater Victoria

FRIDAY Find Mr. Nutcracker and his cousin Tommy Tempo as they visit… Continue reading

Uptown’s Christmas Tree Light Up is Saturday night

Uptown assembling 54-foot-tall tree for fifth annual Light Up

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Port Alberni resident robbed with weapon, thieves steal thousands

Most of the stolen currency is in Canadian $100 bills. The police investigation is ongoing.

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Most Read