The US President said it was “totally” possible for the US to tackle North Korea without China.
However, the 70-year-old refused to explain if he would consider a “grand bargain” in which China would pressure Pyongyang in exchange for a guarantee that the US would later remove troops from the Korean peninsula.
Mr Trump told the Financial Times:
“China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t.
“If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone.”
He added: “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”
Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will visit Trump’s Florida resort later this week as the two leaders are expected to discuss the growing threat from Kim Jong Un’s nuclear programme.
KT McFarland, the deputy White House national security adviser said Barack Obama’s warning about North Korea to President Trump has made the White House view North Korea as an imminent threat.
Obama reportedly told President Trump that Pyongyang has made significant progress in developing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons.
Mr McFarland said: “There is a real possibility that North Korea will be able to hit the US with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the first Trump term.”
Many experts believe Trump needs help from his Chinese counterpart, as Beijing has the most sway over Kim Jong-un’s state.
Dennis Wilder, a former CIA China analyst who later served as the top White House Asia aide to George W Bush said: “What President Trump is trying to do here is to press the Chinese hard by warning them what comes next if they don’t help or join with the US to deal with this problem.”
But Washington could consider alternatives, ranging from more effective sanctions to various kinds of more controversial covert action.