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North Korea nuclear crisis

China will get better US trade deal if it solves N Korea problem, says Trump

US president’s revelation on Twitter comes as Chinese envoy meets officials in Seoul for talks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 8:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2017, 7:01am

US President Donald Trump says he gave his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping an ultimatum in their meeting last week: solve the North Korea crisis and you’ll get a good trade deal.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “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 added: “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 made clear his hope that Beijing will pressure its neighbour and close ally to stop its nuclear programme, and has been reaching out to China’s neighbours for support since his summit with Xi Jinping ended last week.

He has also repeatedly hammered China for exporting more goods to the US than it imports.

Trump’s latest tweet came as Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean peninsula affairs, is holding talks with South Korean officials in Seoul.

China key in bringing North Korea back to negotiating table

Wu said Beijing would work hard to bring the US and North Korea to the negotiating table for direct talks, according to South Korea’s Justice Party’s presidential candidate Sim Sang-jung.

“Since the US is rejecting the idea of holding multilateral negotiations, [we] will actively work to arrange talks between the US and North Korea,” Sim quoted Wu as saying during the meeting, reported the Yonhap News Agency.

On Monday, South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Kim Hong-kyun said after meeting Wu that Beijing and Seoul agreed to impose additional and tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carried out nuclear or long-range missile tests. In February, China announced it was halting all coal imports from the North for the rest of the year following a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution targeting the exports of the reclusive state. China recently denied entry of a fleet of cargo ships from the North after having ordered its trading companies to return coal back home, Reuters reported.

But the US has repeatedly called for China to do more to rein in North Korea’s nuclear programme. Chinese experts said Beijing was likely to consider tougher actions if Pyongyang continued to defy calls for denuclearisation.

Lu Chao, director of the Border Studies Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said banning oil imports from North Korea and cutting off its sources of foreign currency could be among options considered. Lu said China needed to try harder to bring the US and North Korea together for direct talks, but current lukewarm ties between Beijing and Pyongyang was an obstacle.

US and North Korea ‘closer to brink’ of accidental conflict

Trump “reaffirmed the strength of the United States–Republic of Korea alliance and agreed to stay in close touch regarding North Korea and other issues of mutual concern,” according to a statement released by the White House on Saturday, a day after Xi Jinping left the US. Trump and Xi held a two-day summit at the US leader’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

A separate White House announcement on Sunday said: “President Trump and Prime Minister Abe also agreed to further cooperation on a range of regional issues, including the threat posed by North Korea.”

The US was building a “global coalition” to counter threats from Pyongyang, Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters in Washington a day before the Florida summit.

“Patience has basically come to an end. We are looking for an action-focused, results-oriented approach,” Thornton said. “We are going to be trying to cooperate with allies and partners in a global coalition to try to solve this problem in an urgent way that we haven’t really taken up before.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press