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(LEAD) Trump: 'Something has to be done about' N. Korea

All Headlines 00:04 July 09, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with more quotes, details, background; ADDS photo, byline)
By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, July 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that "something has to be done" about North Korea as he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping days after the North's test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"I appreciate the things that you have done relative to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea, a problem that something has to be done about," Trump said at the start of the talks with Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, according to White House pool reports.

"It may take longer than I'd like. It may take longer that you'd like," he said. "But there will be success in the end one way or the other."

Trump also told Xi that trade is a "very, very big issue for the United States."

(LEAD) Trump: 'Something has to be done about' N. Korea - 1

Trump has increasingly expressed frustration after months of fruitless efforts to persuade Beijing to exercise more of its influence as the North's economic lifeline to rein in the regime. China accounts for nearly 90 percent of the North's total trade.

Trump's frustration appears to have deepened after the North's first ICBM test Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Trump questioned the sincerity of China's efforts to pressure the North. He pointed out that trade between China and the North has grown nearly 40 percent, leading him to say, "So much for China working with us."

Trump first complained about China last month, saying Chinese efforts have "not worked out."

Since then, the U.S. has downgraded China's human trafficking status, blacklisted China's Bank of Dandong as a primary money laundering concern and approved the first arms sales to Taiwan since Trump came into office.

These contrasted sharply with April's decision not to label China a currency manipulator in order to avoid hurting Chinese feelings at a time when the U.S. was asking for its help to bring the provocative regime in Pyongyang under control.

China is North Korea's last-remaining major ally and a key provider of food and fuel supplies. But it has been reluctant to use its influence over Pyongyang for fear that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and hurt Chinese national interests.

Analysts doubt how far China can go in pressuring Pyongyang, saying China has often increased pressure on the North in the past, especially when Pyongyang carried out nuclear and missile tests and other provocative acts, but it never went as far as to cause real pain.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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