China hits back at Trump criticism over North Korea
BEIJING: China hit back on Monday after US President Donald Trump tweeted he was "very disappointed" in China following North Korea's latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution.
China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang. China is North Korea's closest ally, but Beijing, too, is angry with its continued nuclear and missile tests.
North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that proved its ability to strike the US mainland, drawing a sharp warning from Trump and a rebuke from China.
Video of the latest missile test appears to show it breaking up before landing, indicating Pyongyang may not yet have mastered re-entry technology needed for an operational nuclear-tipped missile, a think tank reported on Monday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Trump on Monday and agreed on the need for more action on North Korea just hours after the US Ambassador to the United Nations said Washington is "done talking about North Korea".
A White House statement after the phone call said the two leaders "agreed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and other countries near and far".
It said Trump "reaffirmed our ironclad commitment" to defend Japan and South Korea from any attack, "using the full range of United States capabilities".
Trump tweeted on Saturday after the missile test that he was "very disappointed" in China and that Beijing profits from US trade but had done "nothing" for the United States with regards to North Korea, something he would not allow to continue.
Asked by a reporter on Monday how he plans to deal with Pyongyang, Trump said at the start of a Cabinet meeting: "We'll handle North Korea... It will be handled."
China's Foreign Ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters responding to Trump's earlier tweets, said the North Korean nuclear issue did not arise because of China and that everyone needed to work together to seek a resolution.