China holds talks with US on N Korea
WASHINGTON – Agence France-PresseChina’s top diplomat told Donald Trump that Beijing was willing to keep working with Washington to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula -- days after the U.S. leader implied that Chinese efforts had failed.
The meeting between State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Trump at the White House on June 22 also came after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China to step up diplomatic and economic pressure on the North over its nuclear weapons.
The meeting was reported by China’s foreign ministry. There was no White House statement on the get-together, which had not been mentioned in the president’s daily schedule.
“China is willing to maintain communication and coordination with relevant parties including the United States to ease tensions on the peninsula,” Yang said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
Trump told Yang he looked forward to “enhancing cooperation” with China on the denuclearization of the North, the ministry said in a statement.
On June 21 Yang and top General Fang Fenghui met with Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the State Department to discuss North Korea and other regional issues.
Hours before the talks began, Trump sent a tweet that appeared to suggest China’s President Xi Jinping had come up short on reining in its neighbor.
“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Trump tweeted.
Trump did not elaborate on what might happen next if China, by far the North’s most important trading and diplomatic partner, is out of ideas.
Trump, who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail, has turned to Beijing to help pressure its ally North Korea, prompting concern among Asian partners that America might go easy on Beijing over its expansive claims in the disputed South China Sea.