China's Xi Jinping urges Donald Trump not to inflame North Korea feud

Beijing strongly opposes Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme and calls on both parties to 'exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation'

Gerry Shih
Monday 24 April 2017 08:25
Xi Jinping on his recent visit to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida
Xi Jinping on his recent visit to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida

President Xi Jinping called for restraint when dealing with North Korea during a telephone call with President Donald Trump, Chinese state media reported Monday, amid speculation that Pyongyang could soon carry out a sixth nuclear test.

The official broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as telling Trump that China strongly opposed North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, which are in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and hoped “all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation” on the Korean Peninsula.

The Trump administration has warned that all options, including a military strike, are on the table to halt North Korea's ambitions of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the US mainland. However, US officials have told The Associated Press that the military response isn't likely. Trump has reportedly settled on a strategy that emphasises increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of China.

“Only if all sides bear the responsibilities they're supposed to bear and come together, can the nuclear issue on the peninsula be resolved as quickly as possible,” Xi told Trump, according to CCTV.

The phone call, which took place Monday morning Beijing time, came as South Korean officials warned there is a chance that the North will conduct a nuclear test or a maiden intercontinental missile launch around the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday.

Trump has pressed Xi to exert greater pressure against North Korea, given China's status as the country's sole economic lifeline and major ally. Monday's call is the second time that the two leaders have spoken by telephone since meeting in Florida earlier this month.

In a Friday interview at the Oval Office, Trump told the AP that he declined to label China a currency manipulator mostly because he needed Xi's help with the North Korean crisis.

“They are working with us on North Korea. Now maybe that'll work out or maybe it won't,” Trump said, adding that he had a “great relationship” with the Chinese president.

Trump also spoke Monday with and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and they agreed to urge North Korea to refrain from what Abe called provocative actions.

Associated Press

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