United States President Donald Trump on Thursday said China could fix the North Korea crisis “quickly and easily”, urging President Xi Jinping to “work very hard” on it, the BBC reported.

Trump, who is on a five-nation tour in Asia, also warmed up on his past rhetoric on President Xi and the trade surplus China enjoys with the US. He was critical of both in the past.

“I know one thing about your president: if he works on it hard, it’ll get done,” Trump said, months after he accused Beijing of doing nothing to control North Korea.

On the country’s trade deficit – which means China exports a lot more to the US than it imports – Trump said: “I don’t blame China...after all, who can blame a country for taking advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens...I give China great credit.”

However, he blamed previous US administrations for the “very unfair and one-sided” trade with China.

President Xi, who Trump called a “very special man”, promised healthy and balanced economic and trade relations and said cooperation was the “only correct choice” for a better future for both countries.