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North Korea nuclear crisis

US Senator accuses China of ‘lying for 25 years’ about North Korea

Senator Tom Cotton says China is more a problem than a partner for the US in dealing with a nuclear-armed North Korea

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 12:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 1:16am

China is more of a problem than a partner for the United States on dealing with nuclear-armed North Korea, a Republican senator and ally of President Donald Trump said during a wide-ranging interview on Thursday.

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton said China has been “lying for 25 years” about wanting to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear capability. He accused Beijing of using North Korea as a diversion from economic warfare against the United States and other misbehaviour.

Chinese living on North Korean border told to prepare for nuclear disaster by state newspaper

“China benefits from a nuclear North Korea,” Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview.

“That’s why they’ve been playing both sides of the street, saying one thing to Western officials in public but doing nothing to stop North Korea from getting nuclear weapons or now to get them to denuclearise.”

Cotton’s remarks are at odds with Trump’s more positive assessment of China’s support of tough UN penalties against North Korea and come at a tense time. But Trump has consistently called for China to step up its restrictions on trade ties with North Korea.

The isolated communist country recently launched its longest-range missile yet, with the potential of reaching the US east coast.

In Pyongyang, the UN political affairs chief received a warm welcome on Thursday as he held talks with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes likely high on the agenda.

“I would give an enthusiastic welcome to your Pyongyang visit,” Ri, North Korea’s former top nuclear negotiator who became foreign minister last year, told UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

The rare trip to North Korea by a high-ranking UN official comes as tensions continue to mount in the region.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency only reported Ri met with Feltman, without providing any information about what they discussed.