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'Xi agrees to reject freeze-for-freeze deal,' says Trump

'Xi agrees to reject freeze-for-freeze deal,' says Trump

Posted November. 17, 2017 07:42,   

Updated November. 17, 2017 09:21


U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Washington and Beijing agreed to reject the so-called freeze-for-freeze deal, suggesting that China has practically given up on its proposal, in which North Korea freezes its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for South Korea and the United States suspending their joint military drills.

In a White House briefing, Trump told reporters, “We agreed that we would not accept a so-called freeze-for-freeze agreement like those that have consistently failed in the past." The freeze-for-freeze deal has been strongly demanded by China with the support of Russia as a solution to resolving a crisis with North Korea. China has yet to deliver its official announcement over Trump's remark.

Trump's remark suggests that he made it clear to Chinese President Xi Jinping that a simple freeze of nuclear tests by North Korea would be insufficient to suspend ROK-U.S. joint military drills. Trump emphasized once again in his Asia trip that he sticks to denuclearization as a precondition to dialogue with the North, citing the fact that North Korea violated the Agreed Framework signed in Geneva in 1994 in which the North agreed to suspend its nuclear power program.

"President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China," said Trump. "President Xi pledged to faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea and to use his great economic influence over the regime to achieve our common goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula." He also said he and Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed efforts by the United States to reduce trade imbalances with South Korea and that the two countries are renegotiating the disastrous free trade agreement with South Korea.

Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com