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Time is running out, says Trump on N. Korea nuke crisis

Beijing: Donald Trump urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to work hard and act fast to help resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis during talks in Beijing, warning that “time is quickly running out”.
Speaking on the second day of a trip to Beijing marked by pomp and pageantry, Trump also decried China’s “one-sided and unfair” trade surplus with the United States but told Xi “I don’t blame China”, as the two countries signed more than US$250bil (RM1.05 trillion) in business deals.
Xi hosted Trump at the imposing Great Hall of the People, next to Tiananmen Square, for the main event of the US president’s five-nation tour of Asia.
While the two leaders exchanged pleasantries in keeping with their professed friendship – with Trump calling Xi a “very special man” – the former property magnate made clear that he expected China to do more to rein in North Korea.
“China can fix this problem easily and quickly, and I am calling on China and your great president to hopefully work on it very hard,” the US leader said.
“I know one thing about your president: If he works on it hard, it will happen. There’s no doubt about it.”
The US administration thinks Chi­na’s economic leverage over North Korea is the key to strong-arming Pyongyang into halting its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
Xi said the two countries reiterated their “firm commitment” to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the implementation of UN resolutions.
He also repeated his plea for the issue to be resolved through negotiations, saying China was ready to discuss the “pathway leading to enduring peace and stability on the peninsula”.
Though China has backed UN sanctions, US officials want Chinese authorities to clamp down on unauthorised trade along the North Korean border.
But experts doubt China will take the kind of steps that Trump wants, such as halting crude oil exports to the North. Beijing fears that squeezing Pyongyang too hard could cause the regime to collapse.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there are signs that sanctions are “creating some stress within the North Korean economy” but that Xi told Trump they could take “a little while” to have an effect.
Trump, who may meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Apec summit in Vietnam on Friday, also urged Russia to “help rein in this potentially very tragic situation”.
The trip comes as Trump faces the lowest approval ratings for a US president in seven decades, and with the one-year anniversary of his election on Wednesday spoiled by big Democrat wins in state and mayoral votes.
Xi, by contrast, cemented his status as the most powerful Chinese leader in a generation at a Com­munist Party congress last month, when his name was inscribed into the constitution.
“Emphasising pomp over substance is the Chinese way. With President Trump, they think that the state-visit plus treatment will impress him and buy China some goodwill,” Bonnie Glaser, China expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said.
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