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Donald Trump and Theresa May urge China to act over North Korea crisis

The PM vowed Britain would continue to work with international partners to pressurise Pyongyang to turn away from its current course.

Theresa May and US president Donald Trump have urged China to use all its influence to ensure North Korea ends its “illegal acts” as the crisis over the rogue state’s latest nuclear test continued to dominate international affairs.

The Prime Minister and Mr Trump discussed the situation by telephone and agreed to put more economic pressure on the Kim Jong-un regime.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister and the president agreed on the key role which China has to play, and that it was important they used all the leverage they had to ensure North Korea stopped conducting these illegal acts so that we could ensure the security and safety of nations in the region.

“Mrs May said Britain would work with the US and international partners to continue to exert economic pressure on North Korea through further measures including sanctions.

“The Prime Minister noted the importance of the UN Security Council continuing to present a strong and unified international voice by reaching swift agreement on new measures.

“The Prime Minister said she would also work with EU leaders on further measures the EU could take to pressure the North Korean regime.”

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PA Graphic

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also told MPs China needed to try and end the “grave crisis”.

He said: “China, which accounts for 90% of North Korea’s overseas trade, has a unique ability to influence the regime and the House can take heart from the fact that Beijing voted in favour of the latest sanctions resolution and condemned Pyongyang’s actions in the most unsparing terms.

“I call on China to use all of its leverage to ensure a peaceful settlement of this grave crisis.”

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Seoul has continued its displays of military capability (South Korea Defence Ministry via AP)

Mr Johnson said Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test was a matter of global concern.

“At noon on Sunday, local time, North Korea tested the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated in the history of the regime’s quest for an illegal arsenal.

“The regime claimed to have exploded a hydrogen bomb capable of being delivered on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“We should treat that claim with scepticism, but the House must be under no illusion that this latest test marks another perilous advance in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.”

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Lord Hague said there are no sanctions that will deter Kim Jong Un (Dan Kitwood/PA)

Commending the “dignity and restraint” shown by South Korea and Japan despite both countries being “in the firing line of Pyongyang’s reckless ambitions”, the Foreign Secretary said there had been a “steady drumbeat of provocative and dangerous actions by Kim Jong-un’s regime”.

Criticising North Korea’s “brazen defiance” of the rest of the world, Mr Johnson said: “Just as North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons with single-minded determination, so the international community must show the same resolve in our pursuit of a diplomatic solution.”

Mr Johnson’s comments came after North Korea’s ambassador in London, Choe Il, was summoned to the Foreign Office for a dressing down from Asia minister Mark Field.

Earlier, Mrs May told a meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes represent a “threat to the whole of the international community”.

Downing Street has stressed Britain’s “overwhelming” preference for a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said: “I am allowing Japan and South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.”

The PM also intends to telephone French president Emmanuel Macron for talks on the crisis.

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