WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has praised China for its decision to abstain from voting on a UN Security Council resolution condemning last week's chemical attack on civilians in Syria, terming it an honour for the US.
"I think it's wonderful that they abstained. As you know, very few people expected that. And no, I was not surprised that China did abstain," Trump told reporters at a joint White House news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
"Very, very few people thought that..that was going to happen. So we're honoured by the vote. That's the vote that should have taken place," Trump said, responding to a question on his relationship with China.
Later, a senior White House official described this as a positive step.
China's abstention at the UN was "another significant victory for all civilised peoples because it really showed how isolated the Assad regime and its international sponsors" are, the official told reporters.
Trump also praised China for taking steps against North Korea.
"We have a very big problem in North Korea. And as I said, I really think that China's going to try very hard and has already started, he said.
"The vast amount of coal that comes out of North Korea going to China, they turned back the boats. That's a big step, Trump said.