President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone call Sunday that he is willing to act on his own against North Korea’s moves toward nuclear weapons, The New York Times reports.
Trump’s decision is the result of frustration over the Chinese government not acting strongly enough, in his opinion, to take a stand against the government of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, The New York Times quoted senior administration officials.
It also came just a day before North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The call, made at Trump’s request, was cordial, but bluntand comes after several moves by the United States that have irritated the Chinese government.
The U.S. first imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank it said is facilitating financial activity for North Korea, Moreover, sanctions were imposed on a Chinese company and two Chinese citizens.
Washington then backed the sale of $1.5 billion in weapons to Taiwan, considered a breakaway province by China. It then named China a top offender of human trafficking.
The Trump administration also suggested it would take actions against Chinese steel imports to the United States. And recent U.S. naval maneuvers into areas China claims as its territorial waters have drawn sharp rebukes from Xi’s government.
Sunday’s phone call was characterized by the White House as Trump discussing the “growing threat” of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, while the Chinese government said the call signaled that the relationship between the two countries was being “affected by some negative factors”.
Trump and Xi met earlier this year at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where they appeared to strike a good relationship, but The New York Times noted that Xi may have come away with the impression he needed to make only small steps to satisfy Trump.