Xi stresses China's North Korea concerns in talk with Trump

Beijing is willing to work with Washington on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program but wants a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict, Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump in a phone call Wednesday.

Prior to Trump's meeting with Xi this month, USA officials said a key goal was getting China onboard with using economic leverage against North Korea, and coal would be a central part of that. The USS Carl Vinson got its new sailing orders shortly thereafter - nearly certainly a message to China to act on the North Korean problem.

China called for a "peaceful" resolution to tensions on the Korean Peninsula Wednesday, as a United States aircraft carrier strike group churned towards the contested region.

American television networks and some newspapers have been invited to report on a military show in the capital, Pyongyang, this weekend.

This morning the US President tweeted: "Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea".

"So long as we are with our supreme leader Marshall Kim Jong Un we are not afraid of anything", a woman who gave her name as Ri Hyon Sim told Reuters journalists, who were escorted by North Korean officials.

"China is willing to maintain close communication and coordination with the U.S. side", Mr Xi said. "Instead of accepting a situation that continues to worsen, putting an end to this is more in line with the wish of the Chinese public".

Some viewed the conversation as a signal of China's more proactive approach, and Trump's willingness to listen.

Trump's policy toward the North Korean threat is still taking shape.

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A senior Japanese diplomat said it appeared the USA position was to put maximum pressure on North Korea to reach a solution peacefully and diplomatically.

The news of China's intervention will be praised by USA president Donald Trump who has been pushing for the Asian superpower to take action against the North. Two Chinese statements released directly after the Mar-A- Lago meeting did not mention North Korea by name, even though the country had been expected to dominate discussions, it said.

Trump is said to have described last week's summit as a success and that he was looking forward to visiting China soon, although the White House has yet to confirm the details of the call. China has even chose to block shipments of coal from the North, a fatal blow to the country's already meager economy.

Following repeated missile tests that drew global criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off the country's most important export product. The ball is in China's court, the president reportedly said, expressing an intention to wait and see whether Beijing acts.

Days later, a dozen North Korea ships sailed home from Chinese ports, leaving 2 million metric tons of coal stranded in Chinese ports.

Chinese authorities did not respond to requests for official comment.

"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 Korea problem!"

North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Speculation also has mounted that North Korea might conduct a nuclear test to mark the 105th birthday anniversary of founder Kim Il-Sung on Saturday.

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