Movement of US Navy strike group a reaction to North Korea - McMaster

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China says President Xi has stressed the need for an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program in a phone discussion with Trump that followed tweets from the US president urging China to play a more active role.

The developments in the geopolitical dance between Washington and Beijing follow a summit last week between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) and a phone call late Tuesday.

Another result of the diplomatic wrangling: a surprising Chinese abstention on a United Nations resolution condemning a Syrian chemical weapons attack. He said a USA declaration of Chinese manipulation could jeopardize talks with China on North Korea.

"It is important to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by resolving the issues of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles wisely", the spokesman noted, adding that the government will consult closely with the US and other neighbors to that end. Asked specifically if his decision on currency was part of an agreement over North Korea, Trump responded: "We're going to see".

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China's top nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul Monday for talks on the North Korean threat, as a United States naval strike group headed to the region in a show of force.

Tokyo hopes that the United States' strong response on Syria will put pressure on North Korea, which shows signs of preparing for its sixth nuclear test and more test-firings of ballistic missiles. "Military force can not resolve the issue", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing. An influential state-backed Chinese newspaper said the best option for North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, was to give up its nuclear program, and China would protect it if it did.

"This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime, and President Xi and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable, that what must happen is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", McMaster said.

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