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Trump talks heavier pressure on NK with China, JapanBy Jung Min-kyung
Published : July 9, 2017 - 16:30
US President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in separate meetings on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, stressing the need to reach consensus over North Korea’s ongoing provocations.
“I appreciate the things that you have done relative to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea, a problem that something has to be done about,” Trump said to Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, according to White House pool reports.
The Trump administration has been expressing frustration over Beijing’s perceived lack of action to cut off trade with Pyongyang. On Wednesday, Trump vented via Twitter, “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!”
The US has been taking a hard line in convincing China to use its economic clout to suppress Pyongyang. It has downgraded China’s human trafficking status and blacklisted the Bank of Dandong as a “primary money laundering concern” in June.
However, the US president took a more cautious stance at the Hamburg summit saying that the issue with North Korea “may take longer” than expected, but “there will be success in the end one way or the other.”
Reflecting Trump’s softened demeanor, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that although the US’ experience with China on North Korea has been a “bit uneven,” its engagement with China and expectations for the nation remain “unchanged.”
Xi responded that despite some “sensitive issues” lingering in the air, stronger US-China bilateral ties helped bring stability in a time of global conflict, according to Xinhua news agency. He also pointed out that the US and South Korea among other members of the global community “must step up efforts to promote talks and manage and control the situation.”
He also confirmed the Chinese navy’s cooperation in the upcoming US-China joint Pacific Rim military drill next year.
In the US-Japan meeting, Abe mentioned that the security environment in the Asia Pacific region has become “increasingly severe” due to its hermit neighbor’s relentless missile tests.
“As I look at the current situation, particularly the security environment in the Asia Pacific region, including North Korea, we believe that it has become increasingly severe…We would like to demonstrate the robust partnership as well as the bond between Japan and the United States on this occasion,” Abe said.
The White House released a statement on Saturday that US is ready to use “the full range of capabilities” in defense of South Korea and Japan, after the bilateral meeting.
Trade was also a key issue in the meetings with Trump asking the Asian allies to consider global trade balance as a crucial issue.
“I know that China in particular, which is a great trading partner, we will be able to do something that will be equitable and reciprocal,” Trump said to Xi.
Meanwhile, Trump requested his Japanese counterpart to further open its market for American exports as part of an effort to reduce US deficit, a Japanese official said according to Nikkei Asian Review.
By Jung Min-kyung (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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