Trump: China appreciates me meeting Kim over 'ominous alternative'

Trump: China appreciates me meeting Kim over 'ominous alternative'
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President TrumpDonald John Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again MORE said on Saturday that his Chinese counterpart "appreciates" his decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un instead of pursuing an "ominous alternative," an apparent reference to a military confrontation.

"Chinese President XI JINPING and I spoke at length about the meeting with KIM JONG UN of North Korea. President XI told me he appreciates that the U.S. is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative. China continues to be helpful!" Trump tweeted.

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Trump agreed this week to meet with Kim for talks by the end of May, which would make Trump the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a leader of North Korea.

The announcement of the talks was the latest in a series of diplomatic maneuvers signaling a de-escalation of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea after a year in which the countries exchanged an aggressive series of threats.

Last year, Trump warned that he would unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if Pyongyang continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies. He has also held open the possibility of military action against the North.

For its part, North Korea conducted a series of ballistic missile tests last year and detonated what officials in Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb.

Beijing, North Korea's only major ally, has cautioned the U.S. against further escalating the situation with Pyongyang, with Chinese President Xi Jinping urging a political solution to the tensions.

The White House has sought to cast the announced meeting between Trump and Kim as tentative, despite Trump maintaining it will happen.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that there would be no meeting unless Pyongyang takes "concrete actions" showing North Korean officials are serious about reducing tensions.

"We’ve accepted the invitation to talk based on them following through with concrete actions on the promises that they’ve made," she said at a press briefing.

North Korea has not made any public statements about the meeting with Trump. Those messages have been communicated through South Korea, leaving the Trump administration to verify the offer.