Xi urges Trump to peacefully resolve N. Korea tensions

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, April 12 (IANS) China called for a "peaceful" resolution of tensions on the Korean peninsula on Wednesday, as a US aircraft carrier strike group churned towards the contested region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the situation in North Korea and Syria with US President Donald Trump in a telephone call on Wednesday, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, Xi reiterated that China wants a denuclearised Korean peninsula and called for peace and stability.

"China advocates to resolve the issue through peaceful means, and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the US on the Korean peninsula issue," the statement quoted Xi as saying.

Trump had repeatedly called on China to do more to rein in its "unruly neighbour", which stepped up its missile development and nuclear weapons programme since 2016, reported CNN.

The US dispatched aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson after the latest missile test by North Korea last week, drawing a forceful warning from Pyongyang.

An analyst described the discussion between Xi and Trump as a "new phase" of China-US relations on North Korea.

"I think at this point the common interest between the US and China outweigh (North Korea sabre-rattling)," Alexander Neill, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, told CNN.

"China may be prepared to do some sort of trade-off... They want to rein in (leader) Kim Jong-un," he said.

The unexpected phone call between the two came after Trump turned to Twitter to vent his frustrations over North Korea.

"I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem," he tweeted.

"North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! USA," he wrote in a second tweet.

The two leaders met for the first time last week at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

In the wake of the Trump-Xi meeting, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that China understood how dangerous North Korea's nuclear programme had become and had agreed action must be taken to stop it, the report said.

On Syria, Xi said any use of chemical weapons was unacceptable and that the path of political settlement should be followed.

He expressed the hope that the UN Security Council would speak in one voice as it was important for the world body to remain united on the issue.

Xi also said China and the US should promote economic cooperation, expand exchanges in military, law enforcement, cyber and people-to-people areas, enhance communication and coordination in major global and regional issues, through the newly established four-pronged dialogue mechanism.