BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump in a phone call Wednesday that Beijing was willing to work with Washington on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, but wants a peaceful solution.
Xi’s comments came after the U.S. president tweeted that China should do more on the issue Washington sees as an increasingly urgent threat, or the U.S. would go it alone.
The call, brief details of which were released by the Chinese foreign ministry, came amid rising tensions after a U.S. Navy strike group was re-routed to the Korean Peninsula, CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz reports.
“China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula ... and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the American side over the issue on the peninsula,” Xi was quoted as telling Trump by state broadcaster CCTV and other official media outlets.
The two leaders spoke Tuesday night.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he tried to persuade Xi to put pressure on North Korea in exchange for a good trade deal with the United States.
“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” Trump tweeted.
In a second tweet, he wrote: “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
Trump and other U.S. officials have repeatedly called on China to leverage its status as North Korea’s biggest economic partner and source of food and fuel aid in order to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
China responded that it is in full compliance with sanctions enacted under U.N. Security Council resolutions. In February, it suspended imports of coal from North Korea, a key source of foreign currency for Kim Jong Un’s hard-line Communist regime.
However, Beijing also said it would not countenance measures that could bring about a collapse of the regime, release a flood of refugees across its border, and potentially result in a U.S.-friendly government taking power in Pyongyang.
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