China working to ease N. Korea situation

Dog meat being served at a restaurant in Yulin yesterday. The Chinese dog meat festival is notorious, with the animals beaten and boiled alive in the belief that the more terrified they are, the tastier the meat.
Dog meat being served at a restaurant in Yulin yesterday. The Chinese dog meat festival is notorious, with the animals beaten and boiled alive in the belief that the more terrified they are, the tastier the meat. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING • China yesterday said it has made "unremitting" efforts to ease tensions with North Korea, after US President Donald Trump tweeted that Beijing had not succeeded in helping.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was not the "focus and the crux" of the issue on the Korean peninsula, adding that it has stepped up efforts to promote peace talks.

"In order to resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, China has been making unremitting efforts and we have been playing an important and constructive role," Mr Geng said.

"To sum up, our contributions are recognised by all and our efforts are indispensable."

Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday that while he appreciated the efforts of President Xi Jinping and China to help with North Korea, "it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!"

The tweet came a day after the death of Mr Otto Warmbier - an American college student who returned in a coma from a prison in North Korea - and on the eve of a US-China strategic security dialogue.

The State Department said the dialogue will focus on ways to increase pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes, but also cover such areas as counter-terrorism and territorial rivalries in the strategic South China Sea.

Since coming to office Mr Trump has tried to get Beijing to put pressure on its ally Pyongyang to curb its nuclear and missile programmes.

It was unclear if his tweet was a signal that those efforts are perceived to have failed. That conclusion could be seen as a warning of unilateral US action to follow.

In a sign that US-Chinese relations remain stable, a White House aide said President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, had been invited by the Chinese government to visit the country later this year.

The influential young couple had played a role in the first summit between Mr Trump and Mr Xi in April, which set an improved tone for relations between the world's two biggest economies.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'China working to ease N. Korea situation'. Print Edition | Subscribe