Donald Trump has issued China with an ultimatum that if it fails to put pressure on North Korea to disable its nuclear programme, then the US is prepared to take action against Pyongyang on its own.
“Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” the president said in an interview with the Financial Times that has alarmed experts on the region.
Asked how he would tackle North Korea, Trump said: “I’m not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East.”
Trump will host the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where the two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea, China’s ambitions in the South China Sea and trade. There is speculation that North Korea could conduct another nuclear missile test to coincide with the talks.
Trump said he had “great respect” for Xi and “great respect for China”, adding: “I would not be at all surprised if we did something that would be very dramatic and good for both countries and I hope so.”
On North Korea, he said: “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
Asked what might motivate China to help, Trump said: “I think trade is the incentive. It is all about trade.”
He did not elaborate on his campaign suggestion that he wanted to hold talks with North Korea’s unpredictable leader, Kim Jong-un, over a burger.
Christopher Hill, the former US ambassador to South Korea who led the six-party talks on dealing with North…
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