MOSCOW (Sputnik) – US President Donald Trump is confident that China will help resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully, US Vice President Mike Pence said at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney.
"President Trump and I are truly grateful to you for calling on China even this week to play an even more active and constructive role in addressing the North Korean threat. Now, the President and I have, in his words, great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea and I know you share that hope. But as President Trump made clear just a few days ago, if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will," Pence told Turnbull on Friday.
According to Pence, the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group sent toward the Korean Peninsula amid continuing regional tensions this month will be in the Sea of Japan within days.
"The United States is determined to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear, working with all of our allies, and China, to ensure that we achieve a nuclear free Korean Peninsula. Now, all options are on the table and the United States is prepared to do what’s necessary," Pence stressed.
On April 14, media reported that Trump might order a strike against Pyongyang in case of yet another North Korean nuclear test which was expected to mark the country's founder Kim Il Sung's 105th birth anniversary the next day. The North Korean general staff responded with threats of a strike against US military bases in Japan and South Korea, as well as the presidential residence in Seoul in case of US aggression.
North Korea ended up carrying out a failed ballistic missile test on the anniversary, according to South Korean reports.
On Thursday, Trump said he promised Chinese President Xi Jinping a "much better" bilateral trade deal if China takes steps to address the North Korean threat.
Trump has maintained that Beijing is in a unique position to pressure Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and missile activities, including through the implementation of sanctions against North Korea and by curtailing imports.