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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Trump and Asian allies seek to counter North Korean 'menace'

US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping in Hamburg (AP)
US president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping in Hamburg (AP)

Donald Trump and America's Asian allies have sought consensus on how to counter what the US president called the "menace" of North Korea after its test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

As he met Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Mr Trump said: "Something has to be done about it."

In a separate meeting with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, the US president said the two countries were tackling "the problem and menace of North Korea".

The White House said after the meeting with Mr Abe that the US was "prepared to use the full range of capabilities" in defence of Japan.

Mr Trump and Mr Abe had committed, the White House said, "to redoubling their efforts to bring all nations together to show North Korea that there are consequences for its threatening and unlawful actions".

The Trump administration has tried to pressure Beijing to rein in North Korea, a major trading partner, to halt Kim Jong Un's development of nuclear weapons before they have the ability to threaten the US mainland.

Mr Trump has voiced his frustration in recent days that China has not done more, suggesting he may be moving on.

But during his meeting, Mr Trump told Mr Xi: "I appreciate the things that you have done relative to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea."

Mr Abe noted that the security situation in the Asia Pacific region has become "increasingly severe" due to North Korea's push to develop its ballistic missile and nuclear programme.

The Japanese leader said he wanted to "demonstrate the robust partnership as well as the bonds" between Japan and the US on the issue.

North Korea's successful test launch of an ICBM was a major milestone in its long-term effort to build a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to attack the United States.

The issue was a frequent topic of discussion at the summit, and the White House said earlier that the US, South Korea and Japan were pressing for additional measures against North Korea to demonstrate the "serious consequences" for its latest provocations.

The three nations have been calling for "early adoption" of a new UN Security Council resolution and additional sanctions to demonstrate to Pyongyang the consequences of its actions.

Bringing China on board is a key part of the plan. The administration wants China to fully enforce international sanctions intended to starve Pyongyang of revenue for its nuclear and missile programmes. But Mr Trump has been dissatisfied with China's response.

Earlier in the week, he said on Twitter that trade between China and North Korea had grown nearly 40% at the start of 2017, writing: "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!"


Press Association

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