US President Donald Trump is continuing to say very, very nice things about his new BFF and history teacher, Chinese President Xi Jinping. During a wide-ranging interview with Reuters on Thursday, Trump had this to say about how Xi was helping to deal with the North Korea crisis:
I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death. He doesn’t want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.
With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it’s possible that he can’t.
Trump also said that was a “chance” of a “major, major” conflict breaking out with North Korea, but added that he preferred to try to work out a solution peacefully and diplomatically. Also on Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Fox News that China had threatened to impose sanctions on the North Korean regime if it insisted on continuing nuclear tests. China has not confirmed Tillerson’s statement, but it has urged restraint, telling both sides to eliminate even the slightest chance of a war.
“As for the likelihood of war, even a one percent possibility of war breaking out is not acceptable,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday. “The Korean Peninsula is not the Middle East. If war breaks out, the consequences would be unimaginable.”
During his interview with Reuters, Trump also endeared himself to his Chinese counterpart by saying that he would first speak with Xi before answering a phone call again from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and by asserting that he wants to renegotiate or terminate America’s “horrible” free trade pact with South Korea and make Seoul pay the cost of the US-backed THAAD missile defense system, estimating the cost of that controversial system at $1 billion.
When asked when he planned to announce all this, Trump replied: “Very soon. I’m announcing it now.”
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