Trump’s wrong tweet no help to solv­ing NK nuke is­sue

Global Times US Edition - - EDITORIAL -

Fol­low­ing North Korea’s lat­est mis­sile test Fri­day night, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump com­plained on Twit­ter the next day, say­ing “I am very dis­ap­pointed in China. 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!”

This tweet shows Trump’s mood. It is be­lieved that North Korea launched an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile that could reach US soil. This has em­bar­rassed Trump, who places re­sist­ing North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties his high­est diplo­matic pri­or­ity.

But it is un­rea­son­able for Trump to turn his tem­per into crit­i­cism against China. He prob­a­bly knows that he was ut­ter­ing an­gry words which can­not be­come US pol­icy to­wards China.

China has ex­erted enor­mous pres­sure on Py­ongyang’s nu­clear and mis­sile ac­tiv­i­ties. Bei­jing strictly im­ple­ments UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions against North Korea and un­prece­dented re­stric­tions on coal ex­ports to China have been im­posed on North Korea. China’s sanc­tions have al­ready chilled bi­lat­eral ties.

Trump claims that “China could eas­ily solve this prob­lem.” But such a state­ment could only be made by a green-horn US pres­i­dent who knows lit­tle about the North Korean nu­clear is­sue. Py­ongyang is de­ter­mined to de­velop its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­gram and does not care about mil­i­tary threats from the US and South Korea. How could Chi­nese sanc­tions change the sit­u­a­tion?

As the party that dom­i­nates the North Korean nu­clear is­sue, Wash­ing­ton has never turned over the steer­ing wheel to China. Now that the is­sue is mired in a stale­mate, the US is ask­ing China to help out. If Wash­ing­ton is se­ri­ous about seek­ing China’s help, it needs to re­spect China’s pro­posal, which is the sus­pend-for­sus­pend and dual-track so­lu­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, while China is push­ing North Korea, Wash­ing­ton con­tin­ues to ap­ply heav­ier mil­i­tary pres­sure on Py­ongyang.

Wash­ing­ton must be real­is­tic in seek­ing a con­sen­sus with Bei­jing, which is to urge Py­ongyang to aban­don its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­gram in a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able way, not to pres­sure China into sac­ri­fic­ing its na­tional in­ter­ests to se­cure the US’.

The US hurts China a lot on the Korean Penin­sula is­sue. The THAAD sys­tem de­ployed in South Korea se­verely jeop­ar­dized China’s na­tional se­cu­rity, but Wash­ing­ton con­stantly blames China for not do­ing enough on the North Korean nu­clear is­sue. Eco­nom­i­cally, China isn’t tak­ing ad­van­tage of the US. As the top holder of US trea­sury bonds, China is ac­tu­ally sup­port­ing the dol­lar. Wash­ing­ton had bet­ter not threaten China with trade since China has the tools to safe­guard its eco­nomic in­ter­ests.

It’s ridicu­lous for Wash­ing­ton to link the North Korean nu­clear is­sue to Sino-US trade. It is hoped the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sticks to the prin­ci­ple of mu­tual re­spect. China is will­ing to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion with the US for their mu­tual ben­e­fit. But it has no obli­ga­tion to Wash­ing­ton if it is be­yond China’s ca­pac­ity.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Shen Lan/GT

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