Donald Trump thinks Chinese President Xi Jinping is “putting pressure” on North Korea, the U.S. president said in an interview to air Sunday, as tensions mount over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
If North Korea carries out a nuclear test “I would not be happy,” Trump told the CBS television network’s “Face the Nation” program.
“And I can tell you also, I don’t believe that the president of China, who is a very respected man, will not be happy either,” Trump said in excerpts of the interview released Saturday.
Asked if “not happy” signified military action, Trump answered: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”
North Korea test-fired a missile over the weekend in apparent defiance of a concerted U.S. push for tougher international sanctions to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
The latest launch, which South Korea said was a failure, came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the U.N. Security Council of “catastrophic consequences” if the international community — most notably China — failed to pressure the North into abandoning its weapons program.
Trump assailed the failed launch as a show of disrespect toward its ally China.
“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
North Korea is seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland with a nuclear warhead.
China, Pyongyang’s number one trade partner, has repeatedly called for a return to talks on nuclear disarmament, but has been reluctant to use economic pressure that could destabilize North Korea.