China disappoints U.S. over North Korea issue

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Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping: Seems to have given U.S. a false hope on North Korea

(dpa/NAN) China “doesn’t hold the key to solving the North Korea issue,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday, a day after the chief U.S. diplomat stated that China had pressured North Korea away from conducting a new nuclear test.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press conference in Beijing that China has not escalated the conflicts surrounding North Korea.

“The solution to this issue requires collective thinking and joint efforts,” Geng said.

He added that China supports UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea’s nuclear programme and encourages solving the problem through “dialogue and communication.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday said China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it carries out another nuclear test.

In an interview with Fox News, he said China had confirmed that it had asked Pyongyang not to conduct any further nuclear tests.

“And in fact, we were told by the Chinese that they informed the regime that if they did conduct a further nuclear test, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own,” he said.

Washington on Wednesday said it was weighing a series of options, including military action, in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

Tillerson is set to address the UN Security Council on Friday, where he said he would be urging all countries to make sure they were fulfilling their obligations on sanctions and discussing what further steps could be taken to increase pressure on Pyongyang.

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) also addressed North Korea on Friday, urging the country to comply with UN resolutions and international laws in a bid to ease escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula.

The 10-member group called on North Korea and all parties involved to “exercise self-restraint in order to de-escalate the tension and refrain from actions that may aggravate the situation.”

On Monday, U.S. troops began installing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in South Korea, in spite of strong opposition from China.

During a visit by Chinese President Xi Xinping to the U.S. earlier in April, President Donald Trump struck a notably less anti-China tone in an attempt to woo Beijing into doing more to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat.

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