Trump, Chinese President Discuss North Korea and Syria During Phone Call

China's President Xi Jinping reviews paramilitary guards with Myanmar's President Htin Kyaw at a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of People in Beijing on April 10, 2017. (Credit: Fred Dufour /AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the situation in North Korea and Syria with US President Donald Trump in a telephone call on Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry said.

Trump has repeatedly called on China to do more to rein in its unruly neighbor, which has stepped up its missile development and nuclear program since 2016.

The US has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region after the latest missile test by North Korea last week.

The phone call between the two came as Trump turned to Twitter to vent his frustrations over North Korea.

“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem,” he tweeted.

“North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.,” he wrote in a second tweet.

According to a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Xi reiterated that China wants a denuclearized Korean peninsula and called for peace and stability.

“China advocates to resolve the issue through peaceful means, and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the US on the Korean Peninsula issue,” the statement quoted Xi as saying.

The two leaders met for the first time last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and were having dinner when the US launched a strike against a Syrian airfield following a chemical attack.

On Syria, Xi said: “Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. We should adhere to the direction of resolving the issue through political means. Maintaining unity within the UN Security Council is very important to resolve the Syria issue and I hope the UNSC will speak with one voice.”