Xi Jinping talks to Trump on phone about North Korea, urges ‘peace’

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Xi Jinping talks to Trump on phone about North Korea, urges ‘peace’


President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after meetings at the Mar-a-Lago resort, April 7, 2017, in Palm Beach, Florida. Xi held a phone conversation with Trump Wednesday in which he said that conflict on the Korean Peninsula has to be resolved through “peaceful means.” [AP/YONHAP]

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone with U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday and emphasized that conflict on the Korean Peninsula has to be resolved through “peaceful means,” after Trump reiterated that he was ready to solve the North Korean nuclear issue on his own if necessary.

China’s state-run broadcaster CCTV reported that Xi and Trump held a phone conversation Wednesday morning Asia time to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula and other matters of bilateral concern, five days after their summit last week. The CCTV report was issued shortly after the conversation.

Xi was reported to have told Trump, “China adheres to the goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and calls for “peaceful means” to resolve the problem in order to safeguard the peace and stability of the region.

Xi also said that China wants to have “communication and cooperation” with the United States on this matter.

Xi was said to have expressed China’s opposition to the chemical attack by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and called for a political resolution to the Syrian issue.

This phone call came just days after the two leaders held their first summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago summit in Florida last Thursday and Friday, during which Xi invited the U.S. president to a state visit to Beijing within the year.

Trump told Xi that he was looking forward to this visit.

In response to North Korea’s latest rhetoric threatening an attack on Washington, Trump said in an interview Tuesday that the United States is sending a powerful “armada” to the Korean Peninsula and also has submarines on standby.

He referred to the U.S. Navy’s Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group deployment Saturday toward the Korean Peninsula, which was diverted from a route to Australia.

"We are sending an armada. Very powerful," Trump told Fox Business Network. "We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier."

After North Korea Tuesday threatened a nuclear attack in response to U.S aggression, Trump took to Twitter and stated: “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.”
He also tweeted: “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!”

Trump has been repeating the position that his administration will act on its own if China does not show sufficient support to rein in Pyongyang amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a briefing Tuesday did not elaborate on what kind of actions the president will take but said, “When the president is ready to act, he makes it very clear. And I think there is no question that when the President is ready to make a statement, he will do that.”

He added that Trump “will not tolerate” provocations by North Korea.

“He keeps his cards close to the vest,” said Spicer. “And as he showed last week with respect to Syria, when the president is willing to act, it’s going to be decisive and proportional to make it very clear what the position of the United States is.”

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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