US President Donald Trump said United States will solve the problem of nuclear threat emanating from North Korea, with or without China's help.
"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you," he said in an exclusive interview to Financial Times (FT) on April 2, 2017.
US Presidet Donald Trump has warned that the US will take unilateral action to eliminate the nuclear threat emanating from North Korea even if China doesn't mount pressure on Pyongyang.
Asked if US could succeed alone in this task, he replied, "Totally!"
Trump's views have come at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting US on April 6, 2017.
Speaking on China's role in solving North Korea problem, Trump said, "China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that, (it) will be very good for China, and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone." However, he did not disclose the course of action that he intends to undertake.
Trump made a sarcastic remark on previous US administrations. "I'm not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East," he said.
This January, Trump had tweeted sarcastically about China's one-sided trade with US and inaction against North Korea.
The international community fears that Pyongyang could eventually develop the ability to launch long-range nuclear missiles capable of striking the mainland US.
North Korea had earlier warned US that it is ready to use nuclear weapons "any time."
It is because of these fears that US is pressurising China to take a firm stand against North Korea's nuclear programme. On February 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis had warned North Korea that if Pyongyang chose to use nuclear weapons it would be met with an "effective and overwhelming" response.
A month later on March 17, 2017, a similar response came from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who during his visit to South Korea while suggesting a military action as an option, said, "If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table."
However, it is generally believed that military action against North Korea is not the wisest choice as it would escalate the crisis leading to higher casualties.
Nevertheless, Trump insists on creating pressure on China to act against its long-term North Korean ally.
China has been North Korea's ally for long. However, in recent years, ties have been strained as it expressed reservations about North Korea's latest missile tests. In February, it banned coal imports from North Korea, cutting a major source of cash income for Pyongyang.
Beijing has also put economic pressure on Pyongyang, but has been unwilling to do anything that may completely destabilise the country and lead to unification of Korea. This would adversely impact China with US soldiers based in South Korea that shares border with China and may also accentuate refugee problem.
However, it remains to be seen if Trump will be able to convince China to act against North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal on April 6 this year or will there be a status-quo?