The US is prepared to respond to North Korean nuclear threats on its own if China fails to pressure Pyongyang, Donald Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday.
“Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” the president said. “That is all I am telling you.”
Trump will host the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, this Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where the two leaders are expected to discuss North Korea, China’s ambitions in the South China Sea and trade.
Trump said he had “great respect” for Xi and “great respect for China”, adding: “I would not be at all surprised if we did something that would be very dramatic and good for both countries and I hope so.”
About North Korea, he said: “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
Asked what might motivate China to help, Trump said: “I think trade is the incentive. It is all about trade.”
Trump’s deputy national security adviser, KT McFarland, told the FT there was a “real possibility” North Korea could be capable of hitting the US with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of Trump’s first term.