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Tillerson to Chair UN Meeting on North Korea Nuclear Tests

  • Margaret Besheer

FILE - North Korea launches four missiles in an undisclosed location North Korea in this file image made from video released by KRT on March 7, 2017.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the North Korea nuclear issue later this month.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told reporters Monday that Tillerson's briefing to member states will take place April 28 — well after this week's summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida.

"I think a lot is going to depend on what happens between now and the end of the month," Haley said at a news conference marking the U.S. assumption of the U.N. Security Council presidency for April. "Because with the conversations we are having and the decisions China makes, that will really spell out where at least the U.S. wants to go."

FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before their meeting at at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 19, 2017.
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before their meeting at at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 19, 2017.

Haley said the two leaders' summit "will be very, very important" on a number of levels, but particularly on the issue of North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

The rogue nation has stepped up its ballistic missile tests and conducted five nuclear tests in the past decade. Experts say a sixth nuclear test could happen soon.

"I think the United States has seen China for 25-plus years say that they are concerned about North Korea, but we haven't seen them act like they are concerned about North Korea," Haley said. "I think this administration wants to see them act, and I think they are going to pressure them to do that."

She said China hopefully will respond favorably. "That's the goal of this weekend, is to make sure that China shows that they are willing to act on North Korea because we know at the end of the day, the only one that North Korea is really going to respond to is China," Haley said.

In an interview with London's Financial Times, Trump said that if China is not going to solve the problem of North Korea, "we will."

"China has a great influence over North Korea," he told the newspaper. "And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't ... and if they don't, it won't be good for anyone."

Haley said the discussions between presidents Trump and Xi also will cover economic issues, but that "the way that the weekend will go will very much depend on how that conversation with North Korea is."

"The president has made it very clear that he needs to see actions from China," she said.

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