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(2nd LD) Trump says U.S. will solve N.K. problem alone if China won't help

All News 02:13 April 12, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with comments from Senate minority leader, background; CHANGES dateline)

WASHINGTON, April 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he promised a better trade deal to China if it helped solve the North Korea problem and made clear that the U.S. would act alone if China remains uncooperative.

"I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!" he wrote on Twitter, referring to his first summit talks last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.," he said.

(2nd LD) Trump says U.S. will solve N.K. problem alone if China won't help - 1

The remarks came after the U.S. has sent a Navy strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to waters off the divided peninsula in a show of force designed to warn the North against additional provocations.

Tensions on the peninsula have heightened amid speculation that North Korea may conduct its sixth nuclear test or carry out a threatened test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. around its key anniversaries in April.

Trump has long said North Korea is China's problem to fix, criticizing Beijing for refusing to use its leverage as the main provider of food and energy for the impoverished North to bring the recalcitrant regime under control.

China has been reluctant to use its leverage for fear that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and even its collapse, which could lead to the emergence of a pro-U.S. nation on its border.

Earlier this month, Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times that China should help with the problem by using the "great influence" it has over Pyongyang, warning that if it doesn't, the U.S. will solve the problem on its own, and that "won't be good for anyone."

Trump also said he would use trade as an incentive for China to take action on the North.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer expressed support for Trump's approach, saying that getting tough with China is the only way to get the country to use its influence over the North.

"The Chinese have done nothing on North Korea and I don't think they will unless they think America's tough. The tougher we are on trade, the more likely the Chinese are to do something on North Korea," he told reporters.

"I think what he's saying is, 'If they are tough on North Korea, I'll go easier on trade,'" he said.

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