Trump and Xi agree to “maximize pressure” on North Korea

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US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping pledged to "maximize pressure on North Korea," the White House said on Monday, as the crisis over the Pyongyang arms race escalated.

In a telephone conversation, Trump and Xi spoke about "North Korea's continuing challenge to the international community and its efforts to destabilize northeastern Asia," the White House said.

"Both leaders pledged to maximize pressure on North Korea with vigorous implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions," he added.

Since coming to power in January, Trump has repeatedly urged Peking, the North's sole ally, to use his influence on leader Kim Jong-un to persuade him to suspend his ballistic and nuclear programs.

Trump is in New York for the UN General Assembly, which will not be attended by Xi, who has an important Communist Party congress that will consolidate his leadership over the next five years.

North Korea's ballistic and nuclear program is emerging as one of the dominant issues at the annual meeting of world leaders, which formally opens on Tuesday.

Pyongyang has already carried out its sixth nuclear test and several intercontinental missile shots, the last of which on Friday, with a missile that flew over Japan.

The UN Security Council last week imposed a new set of sanctions on Pyongyang, which ban exports, freeze work permits and limit oil supplies.

Washington, which toned down its original proposal for sanctions to win support from China and Russia, did not rule out a military option at the weekend, which could render vulnerable to retaliation for millions of people in South Korea, including 28,500 US troops deployed in area.

In a demonstration of military power, on Monday four F-35B fighters and two US B-1B bombers flew over the Korean peninsula.

The official Xinhua news agency said that in addition to exchanging "views on the current situation on the Korean peninsula", Xi also expressed his solidarity with Trump and the American people over the scourge of powerful hurricanes to the United States in recent days

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