Trump says Chinese president appreciates U.S. diplomacy with North Korea instead of war

March 10, 2018 GMT

President Trump said Saturday that China’s president is pleased that Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomacy with North Korea instead of “the ominous alternative.”

“Chinese President XI JINPING and I spoke at length about the meeting with KIM JONG UN of North Korea,” Mr. Trump tweeted about their phone call a day earlier. “President XI told me he appreciates that the U.S. is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative. China continues to be helpful!”

Mr. Trump, who vowed last year to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea if it attacks the U.S., accepted an invitation from Mr. Kim to meet for talks within the next two months. The date and location haven’t been set.

Chinese state media said Mr. Xi applauded the move by Mr. Trump as a “positive gesture.”

“We hope that all relevant parties can make positive gestures and refrain from actions that prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from calming down,” Mr. Xi was quoted as saying on state-run broadcaster CCTV.

The White House said Friday that North Korea must demonstrate “concrete steps” toward denuclearization before the talks can go forward.

China is North Korea’s most important trading partner. The president has been pushing Mr. Xi to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to scale back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.