President Donald Trump signaled that he would continue treating North Korea and its nuclear provocations seriously.
“We’ve got to treat them rough,” he told the New York Times in an interview. “They’re a nuclear menace so we have to be very tough.”
Trump said that Chinese President Xi Jinping was a friend but that he would consider changing his relationship with China if they could not prevent war in North Korea.
“China’s hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war,” he said.
Trump noted that China had “tremendous power over North Korea” and said that they were not doing enough to reduce the nuclear threat.
“China can solve the North Korea problem, and they’re helping us, and they’re even helping us a lot, but they’re not helping us enough,” he said.
Trump added that he was “disappointed” by reports that China was sending oil into North Korea.
“Oil is going into North Korea, I know,” he said. “Oil is going into North Korea. So I’m not happy about it.”
Trump said he would consider treating China tougher on trade if they refused to help him on North Korea.
“If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do,” he said, referring to his tough campaign rhetoric against China.