Chinese president, has called for a “peaceful resolution to tensions” over North Korea in a telephone conversation with United States Donald Trump on Wednesday, as tensions escalate over the rogue regime’s nuclear ambitions.
The telephone call comes after Mr Trump urged China to do more to rein in Pyongyang and warned Beijing that the US would act alone.
“President Xi made it clear that China wants a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, as well as a peaceful resolution to tensions,” state broadcaster CCTV said in a report on Wednesday’s telephone call, which comes a week after the two leaders met face-to-face for the first time at a summit in Florida.
China would maintain “communication and co-ordination” with Washington over the North Korean issue, Mr Xi told the US president.
It comes after North Korea warned of a nuclear strike if it was provoked by Mr Trump, while the White House said that Pyongyang had been put “on notice”.
Tensions have escalated sharply over fears that North Korea is set to carry out another nuclear test this month – when a series of important anniversaries will be marked by Kim Jong-un’s regime.
The North has carried out five nuclear tests since 2006, two of them last year.
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The US president also told Fox Business Network that submarines were being sent which were “far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.”
Mr Trump sent a tweet on Tuesday which warned that the US would “solve the problem” unilaterally if China was not willing to help.
“If China decides to help, that would be great,” he tweeted. “If not, we will solve the problem without them!”
China’s Global Times newspaper said on Wednesday that this threat had become more credible following cruise missile strikes carried out by Washington on Friday against a Syrian air base which the Pentagon said was used to store chemical weapons.
The possibility of conflict over North Korea is more likely now than it has been for over a decade, the nationalist tabloid said, as it pointed to US “arrogance” following Donald Trump’s air strikes on Syria.
“The Korean Peninsula has never been so close to a military clash since the North conducted its first nuclear test in 2006,” said the newspaper, which has close links to China’s ruling Communist Party.
“If Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test in the near future, the possibility of US military action against it will be higher than ever.
“Not only (is) Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honours his promises.”