US can’t blame China for N. Korea setback

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The masthead of U.S. President Donald Trump's @realDonaldTrump Twitter account is seen on July 11, 2017. REUTERS

US President Donald Trump tweeted a White House statement on Wednesday that he “feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese government”. The statement also said China’s aid to North Korea was “not helpful”.

The statement added, “The President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea and Japan if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before. As for US-China trade disputes and other differences, they will be resolved in time by Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong.”

A Chinese scholar told Global Times that Mr Trump’s Twitter statement shows he is anxious about the upcoming mid-term elections. Mr Trump was optimistic about resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, but now he worries that the current situation will affect the Republican Party race.

If it loses the mid-term elections, Mr Trump’s aggressive policies will face obstruction and the impeachment campaign against him will gain new momentum.

The US shouldn’t willfully shift the blame on China. The White House has directly or indirectly accused China of hindering the denuclearisation of the peninsula several times. Whenever US-North Korea relations go smoothly, the US thinks it is Washington’s credit. Whenever the situation goes to south, it’s China’s fault. If that’s how Washington judges China’s role in solving the North Korea nuclear issue, what’s the point of China continuing with cooperation?

China is more than willing to push forward with denuclearisation of the peninsula. Given its geographic proximity, China’s northeast region has long been concerned about the nuclear and missile activities in North Korea. When the situation on the peninsula showed signs of easing, people there felt relieved. No one wants the peninsula to return to a state of confrontation.

To ease Washington’s unwarranted anxieties that China is sabotaging its Pyongyang policies, the fundamental solution is that the US acts as a fair player and does not go against international norms and interfere in China’s affairs. That way, Washington won’t suspect China so easily.

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