U.S. President Donald Trump initiated a phone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping, as North Korea stepped up verbal threats in response to the deployment of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula.
The call is the third long-distance conversation Trump and Xi have had since their first summit at Trump’s estate of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.
Trump may have called Xi because of increasing concerns Pyongyang could test its sixth nuclear device to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army on Tuesday, the South China Morning Post reported.
The two leaders, who have maintained cordial relations since their first meeting, stayed away from criticisms.
Xi also refrained from making the usual statements about seeking solutions to the nuclear problem through peaceful means, instead calling for all parties to “accept their responsibility,” work together to ease tensions and help Pyongyang to choose the path of denuclearization, according to the Post.
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have said, “All options are on the table” regarding North Korea, in the case of an attack.
The Trump administration has also signaled the era of “strategic patience” that characterized the Obama administration is over.
None of those decisions appears to have intruded on friendly relations between Trump and Xi.
“We have improved understanding and I have established good working relations with [Trump],” Xi said, according to Xinhua, while adding he looked forward to Trump’s planned state visit to China. “China is resolutely opposed to any violations of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and hopes all parties will exercise restraint and avoid any moves that may aggravate tensions on the peninsula.”
China agreed to a statement drafted by the United States last week at the Security Council, condemning North Korea’s most recent missile.
Experts have stated there is a possibility North Korea could conduct a sixth nuclear test.
On Monday, a day ahead of the Korean People’s Army’s anniversary, Pyongyang’s state media idolized the Kim dynasty.
“The invincible revolutionary troops that make up the Mount Paektu Revolutionary Forces, to which the Great Commander [Kim Il Sung] and Great General [Kim Jong Il] devoted their lives, now shine as the elite forces in the glorious era of Kim Jong Un,” the Rodong Sinmun stated.
By Elizabeth Shim