WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — China is expected to use its influence over North Korea to persuade Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, US Department of State spokesperson Mark Toner said during a press briefing on Thursday.
"We expect China obviously to assert its leverage that it has… it’s also got a very robust trading program with North Korea," Toner said. "Clearly, [China] has economic leverage over North Korea. We’re looking at it to leverage its unique relationship with North Korea to persuade the regime in Pyongyang to reconsider."
Toner noted that North Korea’s frequent ballistic missile tests in the previous six months have raised a sense of urgency in the international community.
On April 5, North Korea reportedly launched a ballistic missile from Sinpho, South Hamgyong province, in the direction of the Sea of Japan.
US officials announced on Saturday that an aircraft carrier strike group was sent to the Korean peninsula amid rising tensions.
On Sunday, US National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Herbert McMaster said that President Donald Trump had ordered preparation of all possible options in order to protect the United States and its partners from the threat emanating from North Korea.