Trump proposes North Korea plan, Xi calls for calm during call

By Elizabeth Shim
Trump proposes North Korea plan, Xi calls for calm during call
U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping call him in an effort to improve communications between the two countries. File Pool Photo by Aude Guerrucci/UPI | License Photo

April 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump is negotiating with China to resolve North Korea's nuclear threats in exchange for a U.S. trade deal.

But some analysts are skeptical Beijing would be willing to work on North Korea for economic benefits even as Trump most recently described a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping as "very good."


The two leaders' phone call is the first since their summit at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., last week.

Trump had invited Xi to make the call, following their agreement to improve bilateral communications, according to Chinese state media.

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Xi called for calm regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula and urged any moves that would aggravate tensions not be taken, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday Trump tweeted he had previously suggested a "trade deal" with the United States if China could "solve the North Korea problem."

The president did not provide details on Xi's response to the proposal, but added the United States would "solve the problem without them" if Beijing was not responsive.

Analysts, however, are generally viewing the phone call and positive signals from both sides as an improvement over recent tensions.

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Alexander Neill, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, described the exchanges as a "new phase" in U.S.-China relations.

"I think at this point the common interest between the United States and China outweigh [North Korea saber-rattling]," Neill told CNN.

Cai Jian, a Korean affairs specialist at China's Fudan University, said the phone calls and communications would serve as a "crisis management measure" between the two countries.

But some of Trump's proposals, such as his trade deal for China, would not work for Beijing and its approach to North Korea, one analyst said.

"China could only passively prepare contingency plans. And maybe also work with the Japanese and South Koreans to push the United States to lower the temperature," said Zhang Huizhi, an international relations professor at Jilin University,


Beijing fears instability at its border with North Korea.

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