Trump abruptly announces China's efforts to back down North Korea have 'not worked out'

President Xi.
(Image credit: Fred Dufour - Pool/Getty Images)

Just minutes after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the U.S. has seen "positive movement" from China on the issue of North Korea, President Trump tweeted that things aren't actually working out:

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Last week, The New York Times reported:

There is no foreign leader on whom President Trump has placed a bigger bet than Xi Jinping of China. Mr. Trump's gamble was based on his calculation that Mr. Xi, the Chinese president, could put heavy pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear weapons and missile programs. To secure Mr. Xi's cooperation, the president soft-pedaled his harsh stance on China's trade practices, and has said little about its adventurism in the South China Sea.But a growing number of Mr. Trump's aides fear that the bet is not paying off. [The New York Times]

During his campaign, Trump heavily criticized the Obama administration's North Korea policy, claiming as president Trump would be able to strong-arm China into curbing the North Korean threat by using "economics." "China has control — absolute control — over North Korea," Trump said last year. "They don't say it, but they do."

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East Asia expert John Delury disputed Trump's assertion in an interview with Time: "I don't think Donald Trump has studied the China-North Korea relationship," he said.

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