World

Trump to press China on N. Korea during visit

WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump will urge President Xi Jinping to make good on his commitments to pressure North Korea when he visits China next month, a senior White House official said on Monday, stepping up a strategy to have Beijing help rein in Pyongyang.

Isolating North Korea further over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests is a key goal for Mr Trump on what will be his longest foreign trip to date.

He will call on Mr Xi to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions against Pyongyang and take other steps to pressure North Korea.

China, North Korea's sole major ally, accounts for more than 90 per cent of trade with the isolated country.

China has said it will strictly enforce UN Security Council sanctions banning imports of coal, textiles and seafood, while cutting off oil shipments to the North.

But a senior White House official said China needs to do more to comply with two UN Security Council resolutions that were approved unanimously, including with China's support.

"We would like to see China follow through on those commitments. We would like to see China do things bilaterally as well that might even go beyond things that are mandated by those UN Security Council resolutions," the official said.

Though China has been angered by North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests and demanded they stop, Beijing also sees the US and South Korea sharing responsibility for rising tensions because of military drills they carry out in the region.

China's special envoy for the North Korea nuclear issue, Mr Kong Xuanyou, met his US counterpart, Mr Joseph Yun, in Beijing on Monday, China's Foreign Ministry said, when they had a "deep exchange of views on the Korean peninsula issue". It did not elaborate.

Mr Trump, who has threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, has frequently asked China to help rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

THREAT

But this strategy has failed to stop Pyongyang conducting nuclear bomb tests at an underground facility and firing ballistic missile tests into the Pacific Ocean over Japan.

The threat from North Korea has grown to a "critical and imminent level" and the US, Japan and South Korea must address the matter, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told his US and South Korean counterparts in talks on Monday.

Mr Onodera's remarks underscored the deep concern in Tokyo about North Korean weapons tests as Pyongyang seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the US.

The White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mr Trump is looking for a peaceful resolution to the stand-off.

- REUTERS

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