US ready to act alone on North Korea

Donald Trump is due to meet with the Chinese president this week - however he has insisted the US could "totally" deal with North Korea alone if necessary

US ready to act alone on North Korea

US President Donald Trump, 31-03-2017. Image: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has said the US is prepared to take action against North Korea if China does not toughen its stance over Kim Jong-Un's nuclear programme.

The President's warning comes days before he is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in south Florida.

The pair are expected to discuss trade and territorial disputes in the South China Sea as well as aggression from Pyongyang during meetings on Thursday and Friday.

Mr Trump told the Financial Times: "Yes, we will talk about North Korea.”

"And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't.

"And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone."

He suggested trade should be the main incentive for China to co-operate, but said the US could "totally" handle North Korea alone if necessary.

Asked to elaborate on his plan, he said: "I'm not going to tell you.

"You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East."

While diplomatic and economic support from China is believed to be crucial to the survival of the Pyongyang regime, Beijing insists it has limited influence.

During his election campign, Mr Trump was outspoken on China - threatening to raise import taxes and declare China a currency manipulator.

He told the FT he did not want to discuss tariffs with President Xi at the forthcoming meeting, adding: "Perhaps the next time we meet."

UN resolutions have failed so far to deter North Korea from conducting nuclear and missile tests.

Last year, the North conducted two nuclear tests and two dozen tests of ballistic missiles.

Mr Trump's UN ambassador Nikki Haley said at the weekend that China "has to co-operate" with the US to tackle North Korean aggression.

The President appeared to soften his approach to the European Union in the interview - praising the bloc's response to the Brexit vote.

He said: "I think Brexit is very good for the UK, it is going to be very good for UK.

"I would have thought when it happened that more would follow, but I really think the European Union is getting their act together. It could be a very good thing for both."

He added: "If you would have asked me that the day after the election... I would have said, 'Yeah, it will start to come apart.'

"But they have done a very good job and - I am meeting with them very soon - they have done a very good job in bringing it back together."

Mr Trump, who frequently criticised Angela Merkel during the 2016 presidential campaign, insisted he had a "great" meeting with her.

The talks in March included an awkward moment when Mr Trump appeared to decline a handshake with the German chancellor in front of the press.