On August 29th, US President Donald Trump said he blames China for the lack of progress in talks with North Korea regarding the denuclearization. He said that Beijing has put North Korea “under tremendous pressure” in response to the trade war between the US and China.
Trump also further threatened that he could hold joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea that would be “far bigger than ever” if the denuclearization talks are stalled any further.
The White House statement posted by Trump on Twitter says that the US President “feels strongly” that Pyongyang has been a subject of “tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government.”
Trump also accused China of continuously providing various types of assistance to North Korea, including supplying fuel, fertilizer and “various other commodities” thus effectively undermining the US policy of “maximum pressure.”
Earlier in the same day, Trump told reporters at the White House negotiations with North Korea are “doing well,” but “China makes it much more difficult.”
Despite the lack of any substantial progress on the denuclearization deal with North Korea, the statement read that Trump believes his relationship with Kim is a “very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint US-South Korea war games.” However, Donald Trump could instantly start joint exercises if he would choose to do so.
After accusing the Chinese government on meddling in the Korean peninsula, the statement then concludes by saying the bitter trade dispute between the US and China “will be resolved in time” by Trump and “China’s great President Xi Jinping.”
All of this comes after earlier in the day US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that although several major US drills with South Korea were suspended as part of the deal, the Pentagon has “no plans to suspend any more.”
Mattis also said that the Pentagon would follow the Trump administration’s lead in dealing with North Korea, adding that no decisions regarding drills in 2019 have been so far.
Sputnik reported on August 24th that Trump sees Chinese President Xi Jinping as key to putting pressure on North Korea leader Kim Jong Un to cooperate with US policy goals.
On August 25th, China responded to Trump’s accusations, condemning his comments. “The claims made by the US contradict the facts; they are irresponsible. We express deep concern in this regard and have already made a submission to the US side,” Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.
Even earlier than that, on August 1st, Trump similarly criticized Beijing, reportedly saying “China may be getting in our way” with regards to North Korea. To that, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had the following to say: “China’s position on the settlement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula is well known to everyone, from the very beginning we have made significant efforts to advance the settlement of the Korean Peninsula problem, and our efforts are recognized by the international community.”
The US continues to claim that North Korea is not holding up its end of the deal, however that doesn’t appear to be the case. Sputnik cited Dr. Christine Hong, associate professor of critical race and ethnic studies at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Korea Policy Institute, who claims that North Korea has actually taken serious steps. She noted that so far North Korea “has not only capped its nuclear testing for something like 200 days, it’s basically suspended that, and that’s huge. It’s dismantled nuclear testing sites. The other thing that it’s done is it released three Korean-Americans who were in prison in North Korea for committing acts against the state. And then recently, it released the remains, for repatriation, of 55 American servicemen who were killed during the ‘hot fighting’ period of the Korean War. What the United States has done is suspend one war exercise. And so, if you’re looking at the balance sheet, it’s actually not the case that North Korea’s not keeping up its end of the bargain; it’s really the United States.”
“What we are witnessing now is a return to US policy as usual. Far from being a spectator to an inter-Korean peace process, the Trump administration, as its skewed portrayal of North Korea’s request for a peaceful resolution to the Korean War as ‘belligerent’ reveals, is playing an obstructionist role, all during a time of historic inter-Korean rapprochement,” she said, claiming that US policy on North Korea is taking steps back.
The US has been trying to get China to assist in enforcing the tougher sanctions imposed last year against Kim Jong Un’s regime because the country is Pyongyang’s largest trading partner and shares a border with the isolated nation. China “is the route to North Korea,” Trump said on August 29th.
US President Donald Trump is attempting to blame China for the US inability or unwillingness to fulfill its obligations under the North Korea deal.
In regard to the China-US trade war, it is most likely to escalate, after two days of talk between August 20th and 22nd resulted in no progress. The two sides had met with low expectations for the meetings and no further talks had been scheduled, an unnamed person familiar with the discussions said.
During the talks the US imposed tariffs on a further $16 billion of Chinese imported goods, with China also retaliation with tariffs on $16 billion of US imported goods, bringing the amount of trade affect by the dispute to $100 billion. Bloomberg cited Donald Trump who on August 29th said, “I don’t like to call it a trade war.”