World

Trump urges Xi to work hard and fast on North Korea

BEIJING US President Donald Trump urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to work hard and act fast to help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis during their meeting in Beijing yesterday, warning that "time is quickly running out".

"Hopefully China will act faster and more effectively on this problem than anyone," Mr Trump said, while thanking Mr Xi for his efforts to restrict trade with Pyongyang.

"China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard. I know one thing about your President: If he works on it hard, it will happen. There is no doubt about it."

The US administration thinks China's economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

Mr Xi said the two countries reiterated their "firm commitment" to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the implementation of United Nations (UN) resolutions.

He also repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China is ready to discuss the "pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula".

US officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade along the North Korean border.

But experts doubt China will take the kind of steps that Mr Trump wants, such as halting crude oil exports to the North.

Beijing fears that squeezing Pyongyang too hard could cause the regime to collapse.

Mr Trump, who is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam this weekend, also urged Russia to "help rein in this potentially very tragic situation". - AFP

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