White House: Xi and Trump discuss sanctions pressure on North Korea

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about keeping pressure on North Korea with economic sanctions imposed through the United Nations, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

The United States and South Korea and separately Russia together with China, carried out military drills in a show of force against North Korea, which has defied U.N. Security Council resolutions to conduct nuclear tests and ballistic missile tests.

Trump and Xi spoke on the phone days after Trump and his aides publicly discussed potential military action against North Korea. On Friday, while delivering an address at a military base outside of Washington, Trump said he was “more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming.”

Trump is attending the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, while Xi is not. North Korea’s nuclear threat is likely to loom large on the agenda.

The two leaders also discussed Trump’s coming China visit, the Xinhua News Agency said.

“Xi said China and the United States share extensive common interests and have seen sound momentum of exchanges and cooperation in various areas at present,” Xinhua said.

Xi called on both sides to work closely to ensure a fruitful trip and inject new impetus into the development of Sino-U.S. relations, the report said.

“The Chinese leader said he is happy to maintain communications with the U.S. leader on a regular basis over topics of mutual concern,” it said.

Trump will likely visit China in November as part of a trip that will take him to an ASEAN summit in the Philippines and an APEC summit in Vietnam.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and James Oliphant; editing by Andrew Roche and Grant McCool

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