Trump pressures China on North Korea before Xi talks

Cheryl Sanders
April 5, 2017

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the waters off its east coast on Wednesday, U.S. and South Korean officials said, amid worries that the North might soon conduct banned nuclear or long-range rocket tests.

In that world, the leader of the United States declares that he is ready to take unilateral action against North Korea - which may include imposing secondary sanctions on Chinese banks and other companies suspected of aiding North Korea.

'China has great influence over North Korea, ' the American president pointed out.

Hyten stressed that whatever action the US takes should be in line with allies South Korea and Japan because the North's in the backyard of the allies.

The U.S. Pacific Command said it detected and tracked what it assessed as North Korean missile launched from land near the eastern coastal city of Sinpo.

Trump's deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, said there was a "real possibility" North Korea could be capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of Trump's four-year term, the Financial Times reported.

JOHNSON: President Trump - I think it's fair to say - has shown something of a penchant for going off script every once in a while.

"There is a real possibility that North Korea will be able to hit the United States with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the first Trump term", KT McFarland, deputy White House national security adviser, told the FT in a separate interview.

China is North Korea's most important source of diplomatic support and economic assistance, accounting for about 90 percent of the North's trade and supplying fuel and many of other necessities. "And we have consistently asked Chinese leaders. because they uniquely have the historical and the economic relationship with North Korea, to make a difference". A second White House official said Tuesday that the topic may come up, though there was not expected to be any resolution.

Trump does not plan to give in to Chinese pressure for the United States to withdraw its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, which Beijing considers destabilising. Christopher Johnson who is a former China analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency says it's a chance for Trump and Xi to take one another's measure.

Like many nations, China is still grappling with Trump's mercurial nature after the relative transparency and predictability of the bilateral relationship under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. China has said only that Trump and his wife, Melania, would host Xi and his wife, famed songstress Peng Liyuan, at a welcoming banquet.

The officials, who said there will be no golfing, clarified that Trump was the one who suggested Mar-a-Lago. His almost five years as head of the ruling party have been defined by a campaign to achieve the "Chinese dream" of increasing prosperity while tackling endemic corruption. China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the strategic waterway.

US steel producers want the president to press Xi on Chinese steel prices, according to a source who has been in discussions with the administration in advance of the summit.

It will be the first in-person meeting between the two. I would have said, "Yeah, it will start to come apart".

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