World

Trump presses China on N Korea

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump held out the possibility of using trade as a lever to secure Chinese cooperation against North Korea, and suggested that Washington might deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes on its own if need be.

The comments, in an interview published on Sunday by the Financial Times, appeared designed to pressure Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his visit to Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this week.

"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," Mr Trump was quoted as saying, according to an edited transcript published by the newspaper.

Asked what incentive the US had to offer China, Mr Trump said: "Trade is the incentive. It is all about trade."

And asked if he would consider a "grand bargain" in which China pressured Pyongyang in return for a guarantee that the US would later remove troops from the Korean peninsula, the newspaper quoted Mr Trump as saying: "Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you."

It is not clear whether Mr Trump's comments will move China, which has taken steps to increase economic pressure on Pyongyang, but has long been unwilling to do anything that may destabilise the North and send millions of refugees across its border.

It is also unclear what the US might do on its own to deflect North Korea from the expansion of its nuclear capabilities and development of missiles.

Mr Trump's national security aides have completed a review of US options to try to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

They include economic and military measures, but the US leans more towards sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing to rein in its reclusive neighbour, a US official said.- AFP

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