China fires back at Trump

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Following a signature Trump Twitter tirade Saturday night, in which the president accused it of accepting billions in trade deal benefits with the United States but doing nothing to aid in thwarting North Korean attempts at establishing a nuclear missiles program, China responded Tuesday to the president’s comments.

“We think the North Korea nuclear issue and China-U.S. trade … are in two completely different domains,” Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said at a news conference in Beijing. “They aren’t related. They should not be discussed together.”

Trump isn’t known for treating international disputes with any nuance and has consistently referred to the U.S. economic relationship with China flippantly, often attempting to use it as leverage to make veiled threats.

“I am very disappointed in China,” Trump tweeted Saturday night. “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”

Whether China could “easily” solve the North Korea problem is yet to be determined. But accusations that they aren’t too intent on fixing it aren’t completely unfounded. While the burgeoning Asian power claims it has followed UN resolutions to a tee when dealing with the rogue state, any pressure they have placed on North Korea has had no effect. North Korea announced it has intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities that render U.S. locations in the range of attack, despite Chinese military and economic threats.

Thus, while China might not be as culpable for North Korea’s actions, as Trump makes it appear on Twitter, it is reasonable that U.S. officials harbor anxiety over the nation’s lack of urgency.

In an phone call with Trump earlier in July, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that “negative factors” are hurting the bilateral relations between China and the United States.

China Central Television reported, “Xi Jinping emphasized that, since my meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago, China-U.S. relations have achieved important outcomes. At the same time, bilateral relations have been affected by some negative factors. China has expressed its position to the U.S.”

The White House confirmed Trump discussed the threat of North Korea with the Chinese president during the phone call, and stated that Trump and Xi  “reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”

Sanctions were placed on a Chinese bank and a few Chinese citizens by the Treasury Department, over accusations they had helped North Korea access finances to help fund their nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Trump was visited by South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House earlier this summer, where Trump stated he was out of patience with North Korea. “The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed… many years it has failed… and frankly, that patience is over.”

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