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China says U.S., North Korea tensions responsible for nuclear problem

By Elizabeth Shim
China says U.S., North Korea tensions responsible for nuclear problem
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said relations between the United States and North Korea are responsible for the "nuclear issue" on the Korean peninsula. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The Chinese foreign ministry says challenges remain in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue because of tensions between North Korea and the United States.

The statement from Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang comes after U.S. President Donald Trump recently suggested China has the upper hand in addressing North Korea.

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"The ultimate reason the North Korea nuclear issue is difficult to solve is the conflict between North Korea and the United States," Geng told reporters at a regular press briefing, according to Yonhap news agency.

"Do you think it is an easy matter, given the present situation of the North Korea nuclear problem?" Geng said.

The spokesman added China hopes each country will "sincerely" take responsibility for their role.

"I also hope they will play a constructive role for peace and stability, and for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Geng said.

Tensions have generally subsided between the United States and China after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged a phone call in early February.

During the call Trump said he would respect Beijing's "One China" policy, signaling his desire to move past previous statements that questioned Beijing's official sovereignty claims.

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But China has also issued warnings after the U.S. Navy deployed the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the South China Sea.

The U.S. Navy has said the aircraft carrier is conducting training operations in the disputed maritime region.

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