President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on “the menace of North Korea” was “very good.”
Citing Chinese state-run media, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Xi expressed his nation’s continued commitment to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula through peaceful means.
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North Korea’s most-recent outburst of saber-rattling, via a missile launch earlier this month, put corralling the repressive communist regime at or near the top of the agenda for Trump’s meeting with Xi last week in Florida.
On Tuesday, Trump wrote on Twitter that “North Korea is looking for trouble” and that should China, North Korea’s chief international benefactor, prove unwilling to help rein in its bombastic neighbor, the U.S. “will solve the problem without them!”
Beyond sending social media posts on the subject, Trump sent a more tangible message over the weekend by ordering the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its battle group to waters off the Korean peninsula. North Korea’s foreign ministry responded with a statement that “we will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions” and that “this goes to prove that the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario.”
Trump, who promoted a get-tough-with-China approach to trade on the campaign trail, also suggested that China’s willingness to tamp down North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and bellicose rhetoric might lead to a better trade outcome. “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 wrote Tuesday on Twitter.