Sunday 30 April 2017

Everything you need to know about Donald Trump's North Korea warning ahead of his talks with China

FILE - This combination of file photos shows U.S. President Donald Trump on March 28, 2017, in Washington, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Feb. 22, 2017, in Beijing. Trump is suggesting ahead of his two-day meeting starting Thursday, April 6, 2017 with Xi that with or without Beijing’s help, he can “totally” handle North Korea, but his solution would have to be pretty clever. (AP Photo/Files)
FILE - This combination of file photos shows U.S. President Donald Trump on March 28, 2017, in Washington, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Feb. 22, 2017, in Beijing. Trump is suggesting ahead of his two-day meeting starting Thursday, April 6, 2017 with Xi that with or without Beijing’s help, he can “totally” handle North Korea, but his solution would have to be pretty clever. (AP Photo/Files)

By Nilima Marshall

Trump says it “won’t be good for anyone” if the US has to act alone.

Donald Trump has warned the US is prepared to act alone against North Korea if China does not take a tougher stand against North Korea’s nuclear programme.

In an interview with the Financial Times, ahead of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the US president said: “Yes, we will talk about North Korea.

“And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the White House’s position on China and North Korea as the US prepares for a visit from China’s president.

When will the meeting with Xi Jinping take place?

Trump is set to host Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in south Florida on April 6-7.

The two world leaders are expected to discuss a number of issues, including North Korea, trade and territorial disputes in the South China Sea during their meeting.

But given Trump’s position, North Korea is more than likely to be at the centre of the talks.

What are the expected discussions about North Korea?

The US is likely to put pressure on China to play a more proactive role in dealing with North Korea.

Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on ABC’s This Week: “They need to show us how concerned they are. They need to put pressure on North Korea. The only country that can stop North Korea is China, and they know that.”

However, while Trump said trade was the incentive for China to work with him, he added that the US could “totally” handle the situation in Pyongyang without China’s help.

Asked how he would tackle North Korea, he told the FT: “I’m not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East.”

While China provides diplomatic and economic support to its neighbour, it claims that its influence over Kim Jong Un’s government is limited.

How has the US’s relationship been with China in recent months?

Since Trump’s election, the relationship between the US and China has been uncertain.

During his campaign, Trump accused Beijing of unfair trade practices and threatened to raise import taxes on Chinese goods and declare China a currency manipulator, although it is unclear whether he will follow through with either threat.

However, Trump told the FT he does not “want to talk about tariffs yet, perhaps the next time we meet”.

In the past, Trump accused the country of creating the concept of global warming.

Last month, the Trump administration announced sanctions on Friday on 30 foreign companies and people from 10 countries, including China, and accused the entities of engaging in nuclear proliferation activity.

Why is Trump worried about North Korea?

UN resolutions have failed so far to deter North Korea from conducting nuclear and missile tests. Last year, the North conducted two nuclear tests and two dozen tests of ballistic missiles.

During the handover of power, Barack Obama’s administration identified North Korea as the top national security issue for Trump’s administration.

Many US security officials believe North Korea may have a nuclear-armed missile capable of hitting the US within four years.

Officials are said to have already increased surveillance over the isolated, communist country and claim to have has seen a missile launcher moving around, as well as construction of VIP seating in the eastern coastal city Wonsan.

What is expected of this meeting?

It is possible that the US will want China to re-examine the diplomatic and economic support the country provides to its neighbour.

When asked what the US would do if China did not co-operate, Haley said: “China has to co-operate.”

However, former defence secretary Ash Carter said he doubted that Beijing would co-operate, saying on ABC: “I’ve been working on the North Korea problem since 1994.

“And we have consistently asked Chinese leaders … because they uniquely have the historical and the economic relationship with North Korea to make a difference.

“They haven’t used that influence, and so it’s hard for me to be optimistic with that.”

Press Association

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