Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Xi stresses China's North Korea concerns in talk with Trump

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria during the phone call Wednesday, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

This morning the US President tweeted: "Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea".

The Japanese Navy is to conduct a joint military exercise soon with a USA aircraft carrier amid growing tensions over North Korea's nuclear missile programme, Japan's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

China is North Korea's main ally, but Trump has asked Xi Jinping to put pressure on North Korea.

After the call, which Trump initiated, the Chinese foreign ministry released a statement reiterating their strategy.

"All relevant parties should exercise restraint and keep calm, easing tensions instead of provoking each other and adding fuel to the fire", he said at a regular press briefing. "Under the current circumstances, this is very unsafe", Lu told reporters at a regular press briefing in Beijing. It is expected to abide by the sanctions regime imposed by the United Nations Security Council for some time, including a complete shutdown of trade in nuclear- and missile-related materials, to signal its cooperation with Washington.

While President Xi himself seemed to be undeterred and was even quoted agreeing with Trump that steps need to be taken when chemical weapons are used, the official Chinese media sang a different song in response to the strikes. The U.S. and its allies have expressed alarm about the North's recent ballistic missile launches, including a four-rocket salvo last month it described as a practice to strike U.S. bases in Japan.

In the medium term, key players in the region should reconvene under the former six-party talks mechanism, or something similar, to work out the terms for Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear and missile program. "Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time".

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North Korea has issued a threat of a nuclear strike on the United States at any sign of American aggression.

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Reaction in the North Korean capital was predictably indignant. They told the news agency that the Japanese military planned to join the US forces for drills when the Carl Vinson moved through waters near Japan.

Several other options, including military force, are "on the back burner", the official said.

Nikkei Asian Review reports that the USA and Japanese military are preparing for possible nuclear weapons testing by the North Korean government.

"In fact, I think the outside exaggerates the sort of role China can play".

"Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the United States invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the USA mainland", the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

Beijing decided in February to halt coal imports from North Korea through the end of the year.

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