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Trump says he discussed N. Korea with Xi

US President Donald Trump said Friday he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the two countries' trade deal and North Korea.

In a tweet, he said they had a "very good talk ... concerning our giant Trade Deal," referring to the interim agreement the two countries reached last week to halt additional tariffs on Chinese goods and require more Chinese purchases of US farm and other products.

It was unclear, however, what they discussed regarding North Korea.

"China has already started large scale purchases of agricultural product & more. Formal signing being arranged," Trump wrote. "Also talked about North Korea, where we are working with China, & Hong Kong (progress!)."

From left: Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump (Yonhap)
From left: Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump (Yonhap)

The apparent phone call came as tensions have risen over North Korea's threats to launch a long-range missile unless the US offers concessions before the year-end.

China and Russia, key traditional allies of the North, have called for easing United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang as a way to help restart denuclearization negotiations between the US and the North.

But Washington has rejected the proposal as premature, given Pyongyang's threat to conduct an "escalated provocation" and refusal to meet to discuss denuclearization.

Reuters quoted China's Xinhua News Agency as reporting that Xi stressed to Trump the need to seek a political settlement on the North Korean issue and that "all parties should meet each other halfway and maintain the momentum of easing dialogue, which serves the common interests of all parties."

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who was confirmed by the Senate Thursday to be the deputy secretary of state, was in Beijing on Thursday and Friday to meet with Chinese officials over North Korea.

There was speculation he may meet with his North Korean counterpart during his stay but such contact apparently did not materialize. (Yonhap)