China's Washington envoy says US should stop threats over North Korea

Ambassador Cui Tiankai cautioned against putting China-US trade on the table. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - China's ambassador to Washington has called on the US to refrain from making threats over North Korea, which a day earlier launched another missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai told reporters on Friday (Sept 15) at an embassy event: "Honestly, I think the United States should be doing... much more than now, so that there's real effective international cooperation on this issue."

"They should refrain from issuing more threats. They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation," he said.

President Donald Trump and others in the US and beyond have urged China to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on its Communist ally to help resolve the standoff over North Korea's weapons programmes.

China fought alongside North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, in which Chinese leader Mao Zedong lost his eldest son, and Beijing has long been Pyongyang's chief ally and primary trade partner.

But the Chinese government has pushed back against the notion that it has any control over Pyongyang, and says it is the US that should be doing more.

Trump tweeted earlier this month that the US was considering halting trade with countries doing business with North Korea.

Cui on Friday cautioned against putting China-US trade on the table.

"Efforts to undermine Sino-US trade, or even slapping sanctions on China, I think would be off-target," the Chinese state news agency Xinhua quoted Cui as saying on Friday at a Chinese National Day reception.

"If someone were to pressure China or impose sanctions on China over the DPRK, it would not be supported by many US citizens," Cui said, referring to North Korea by the acronym for its official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Workers at US airplane factories, farmers growing soybeans, companies that sell smartphones to China, manufacturers that enjoy large market shares in China, companies in the service sector that have gained trade surplus in China, US states that engage in robust trade with China would all stand against it," Cui said.

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