EghtesadOnline: President Donald Trump discussed North Korea in phone calls with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese leader Xi Jinping as the U.S. and Japan began joint naval drills in the region.
“I said I had high regard for President Trump’s ability to use actions and words to show that all options are on the table,” Abe told reporters on Monday in Tokyo. China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported the call between Trump and Xi, without providing specifics.
According to Bloomberg, Abe said Japan had begun naval exercises with the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier leading a strike group into the region. South Korea is also considering whether to conduct drills with the U.S. naval flotilla, which embarked for the Korean Peninsula after initial confusion about an itinerary that first saw it bound for joint exercises with Australia.
“We were in complete agreement that we would need to continue to firmly urge restraint by North Korea, given that it has continued these dangerous provocations,” Abe told media including public broadcaster NHK.
Kim’s regime conducted a failed ballistic missile test on April 16 as it seeks to develop a device that can carry a nuclear warhead as far as North America. Trump has been trying to get China to do more to bring its neighbor and ally into line, saying last week that he has “absolute confidence” that Xi could help solve the issue.
China’s willingness to press North Korea has sparked a battle between the nations’ media outlets. Without referring to China by name, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said April 21 that “the country is talking rubbish that the DPRK has to reconsider the importance of relations with it” and that China was “dancing to the tune” of the U.S.
In response, China’s Communist Party-affiliated Global Times newspaper wrote in a commentary that “no matter how many articles KCNA publishes, whatever future measures North Korea takes, Beijing’s stance wouldn’t be affected.” If North Korea conducts a nuclear test, “Beijing will undoubtedly support the UN in adopting tougher sanctions against it, including oil embargo,” said the newspaper, which is known for its nationalistic views.