WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has said Chinese President Xi Jinping has been putting pressure on North Korea but nothing seems to be happening, days after Pyongyang carried out another provocative missile test which heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula.
"He (Xi is going to have to do what he has to do. But he understands we are not going to be very happy," Trump told CBS News.
"And I will tell you, a man that I've gotten to like and respect, Xi, I believe has been putting pressure on him (North Korean leader Kim Jong-un) also. But so far, perhaps nothing has happened and perhaps it has. This was a small missile. This was not a big missile. This was not a nuclear test, which he was expected to do three days ago. We'll see what happens," he said.
The US president said he would not be happy if North Korea conducts a nuclear test.
"If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy. And I can tell you also, I don't believe that the president of China, who is a very respected man, will be happy either," he said without elaborating further.
"I don't know. I mean, we'll see," he said when asked about the possibility of a military action in the wake of a nuclear test. In an interview to ABC news, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Trump will never make his decisions public.
"The president is someone who's made it very clear that he's not going to telegraph his next moves. He's not going to put out the plan for North Korea in 'The New York Times' or 'The Washington Post'.
"He's working with (Defence Secretary) general (retd) James Mattis. He's working with (Secretary of State) Rex Tillerson. He's working with (National Security Adviser) general (retd) H R McMaster and his team and making determinations of how to move forward in a pretty delicate, complicated matter," he said.
Priebus alleged that previous US administrations had "have just watched this transpire, watched North Korea build the capability it has today", watch them put missiles into mountainsides.
"We have got a president that means business. He has used his negotiating skills very wisely, befriending and becoming very close to President Xi in China, working with China to put pressure on North Korea, working with our allies. Yesterday, he had a conversation with the president of the Philippines. Today, he'll talk to Singapore and Thailand," he said.
Trump is in a close contact with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Priebus said.
"This is a mission-driven president who spends a lot of time working with our allies and talking to his experts on how to handle the situation and do it wisely and do it the right way for the American people and actually for the people around the world," he said.
Priebus defended the decision to putting some issues like human rights on backburner with China in order to deal the North Korean behaviour.
"It does not mean that human rights don't matter but what it does mean is the issues facing us developing out of North Korea are so serious that we need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get to make sure we have our ducks in a row. So if something does happen in North Korea, that we have everyone in line backing up a plan of action that may need to be put together with our partners in the area," he said.
"When you have North Korea, and you have them flagrantly talking about developing nuclear war heads, which they have already done, and putting out videos of how they're going to launch these things to the US and across the globe, that has to remain at the highest level," Priebus said.
"But when it comes to human rights, look what president Trump and his team did in Syria. I mean, that was matter of human rights. And the president said enough was enough. And he wanted to make a statement to Assad and the rest of the world that there are some lines you don't cross. So, the president's shown his willingness to stand up for human rights," he added.
North Korea yesterday test-fired a ballistic missile from an area north of Pyongyang but it failed seconds after it was launched, the third such failed test-fire this month.