May 21, 2018 / 12:06 PM / in 6 months

Trump urges China to maintain tight North Korea border ahead of summit

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he delivers remarks during the Prison Reform Summit at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday urged China on Monday to maintain a secure border with North Korea, pressing Beijing ahead of his anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month aimed at denuclearisation.

“China must continue to be strong & tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made. The word is that recently the Border has become much more porous and more has been filtering in. I want this to happen, and North Korea to be VERY successful, but only after signing!” Trump tweeted.

He did not elaborate on the significance of the North Korea-China border issue in any deal that might be reached on denuclearisation. Trump has said his meeting with Kim will take place on June 12 in Singapore.

China is North Korea’s most important trading partner and it has consistently said it is fully enforcing U.N. sanctions against the North.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had always fulfilled its international obligations, but that as friendly neighbors they, of course, had what he termed normal trading ties.

“There is absolutely no inevitable contradiction between these two,” Lu told reporters.

North Korea last week threatened to scrap the summit with Trump if Washington continued to press for unilateral denuclearisation.

In response, Trump said that as far as he knew, the meeting was still on track and sought to placate Kim by saying the North Korean leader would be protected as part of any deal.

Last week, Trump told reporters at the White House that the Kim was possibly being influenced by China after two recent visits he made there.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry

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