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Xi told Trump NK issue must be solved through talks
 
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. Photo: Reuters
 
China is focused on solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through talks and peaceful means, Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump in a telephone call on Wednesday.
 
Xi said China has been adamant in preserving international nuclear non-proliferation, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving the nuclear issue through talks.
 
He said the general direction should head toward a peaceful settlement of the issue, adding that dialogue combined with a set of comprehensive measures is best for seeking a long-term solution.
 
Trump said Washington has been deeply concerned over the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula, and attaches importance to China’s essential role in resolving the issue.
 
He pledged to step up communication with the Chinese side in a bid to find a solution as early as possible.
 
The United States and South Korea have asked the United Nations to consider tough new sanctions on North Korea after its nuclear test on Sunday that Pyongyang said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.
 
In a telephone call with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, “President Trump reiterated that now is not the time to talk to North Korea, and made clear that all options remain open to defend the United States and its allies against North Korean aggression,” the White House said on Wednesday.
 
However, the issue was not mentioned in a separate White House statement on the Trump-Xi call, which said only that the two leaders recognized the danger posed by North Korea and committed to working together with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
 
Earlier, a statement from China’s foreign ministry said China “unswervingly” works to realize denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation system, Xi told Trump.
 
“At the same time, we always persist in safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation,” Xi said. 
 
Xi also said that China attaches importance to Trump’s visit to China later this year.
 
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday of “begging for war” and urged the Security Council to impose the “strongest possible” sanctions.
 
Sanctions so far appear to have done little to stop North Korea from boosting its nuclear and missile capacity as it faces off with Trump, who has vowed to stop Pyongyang from being able to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon.
 
China and Russia have advocated a plan in which the United States and Seoul stop major military drills in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programs.
 
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis is impossible with sanctions and pressure alone.
 
“Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear program is a crude violation of UN Security Council resolutions, undermines the non-proliferation regime and creates a threat to the security of northeastern Asia,” Putin said. “At the same time, it is clear that it is impossible to resolve the problem of the Korean Peninsula only by sanctions and pressure.”
 
Moon, who came to power this year advocating a policy of pursuing engagement with North Korea, has come under increasing pressure to take a harder line. He has asked the United Nations to consider tough new sanctions following the latest nuclear test.
 
Trump and Xi last spoke by telephone on Aug. 12. The White House said at the time that their relationship was “extremely close” and “will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem.”
 
But tensions in China-U.S. ties have increased since Trump took office, with the U.S. president having authorized an investigation into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property, and suggesting trade relations would be linked to Beijing’s help on North Korea.
 

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