China will be increasing its sanctions against North Korea, President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday.
“President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against #NoKo. Said he wants them to denuclearize. Progress is being made.”
President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against #NoKo. Said he wants them to denuclearize. Progress is being made.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2017
The announcement comes as Trump returns from this 11-day trip through five Asian countries with a critical commitment from Chinese leader Xi Jinping: to take a firm stand against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Nov. 11, Trump drew attention to the significance of Xi’s statement two days earlier to stop the nuclearization of North Korea.
“That’s a big statement,” said Trump. “A lot of people didn’t—they didn’t pick that up.”
“I even looked up, because I was sitting, waiting to speak. And I said, Wow, that’s a big statement.”
Trump said that Xi was the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong—perhaps even more so—and that he wanted to do the right thing.
When asked what he’d like to see next from Xi, Trump said he hoped the Chinese leader would ratchet up the pressure on North Korea, and expected that Xi would do so.
“I think he’s doing that. We had a long talk about it… I was with him for hours,” said Trump.
Xi’s statement came at the halfway point of Trump’s Asia tour when the two leaders made their prepared statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9.
Xi said the two countries would cooperate on major international issues to better contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region.
“On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, we reiterated the firm commitment to achieving denuclearization of the Peninsula and upholding international nonproliferation regime,” said Xi.
At the time, Trump said the discussion had also covered their shared commitment to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, a commitment he called on other nations to follow.
“All responsible nations must join together to stop arming and financing, and even trading with the murderous North Korean regime,” said Trump.
In regards to Trump’s tweet, the White House has not released details of what China’s additional sanctions will look like.
With China moving steadily to implement the current sanctions, which some reports indicate include the ejection of North Korean workers before the required deadline, the focus may now turn to Russia.
Trump suggested that could be the case in his comments before his bilateral meeting with Vietnamese leader Tran Dai Quang on Sunday.
“President Xi, I think, is going to be a tremendous help. I hope Russia, likewise, will be a tremendous help. I think they can make a big difference,” said Trump.
In his comments on Air Force One, Trump said he was unable to have a full conversation with Putin about the North Korean situation.
“We just had these little segments that we were talking about Syria,” said Trump, blaming an “artificial Democrat barrier” that had kept him from developing closer ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“If I had Russia and China helping us with North Korea, I think that would solve it. But this artificial barrier gets in the way.”
That barrier is the politicized investigation of allegations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election.
Trump said he had asked Putin about it several times and Putin assured him he did not interfere.
When a reporter asked Trump if he believed Putin, Trump said, “I can’t stand there and argue with him. I’d rather have him get out of Syria, to be honest with you.”
“That whole thing was set up by the Democrats,” he added. “I mean, they ought to look at Podesta. They ought to look at all of the things that they’ve done with the phony dossier. Those are the big events.”