Donald Trump says US prepared to go it alone on North Korea nuclear threat

The US will take unilateral action to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat if China does not help bring pressure to bear on Pyongyang, Donald Trump has warned.

Mr Trump, who will meet Xi Jinping, the president of China, for the first time on Thursday, said the US would go it alone if Beijing refuses to cooperate, but refused to say whether he implied taking military action against the hermit dictatorship.

“China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Mr Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone.”

“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you,” he added.

Conventional thinking is that China would have to take a lead role in imposing further sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang because of its economic leverage.

Mr Trump has been deeply critical of China in the past, especially its trade policy. However, he said he hoped that would not stand in the way of a deal being reached at the summit with Mr Xi at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida next week.

“I have great respect for him. I have great respect for China. 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,” he told the paper.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, also issued a stark warning saying America would “no longer take excuses from China”.

Mrs Haley said: “They need to show us how concerned they are. They need to put pressure on North Korea. The only country that can stop North Korea is China, and they know that.

“China has to cooperate. This is now down to, do we want to continue to see these ballistic missile attacks from North Korea or does China want to do something about it?”

Mrs Haley spoke as the US took over the rotating presidency of the Security Council. She added: “We’re going to say what we think, and we’re going to move the ball and that’s what this is about.”

Concern has been mounting about the North Korean missile program in the US for some years. Barack Obama’s administration identified North Korea as the top national security issue for Mr Trump’s administration during the handover of power.

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