China slams ‘ab­surd logic’ of Trump’s N Korea claim

BEI­JING SAYS WASH­ING­TON SHOULD WORK TO­WARDS SO­LU­TION AND STOP SHIFT­ING BLAME

The Nation - - WORLD -

CHINA YES­TER­DAY de­rided the “ir­re­spon­si­ble and ab­surd logic” of the United States af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ac­cused Bei­jing of mak­ing Wash­ing­ton’s re­la­tion­ship with North Korea more dif­fi­cult.

Trump dou­bled down on his sug­ges­tion that China was not help­ing to rein in its Cold War-era ally, a charge he first lev­elled when he can­celled a trip to North Korea by Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo that was due to take place this week.

“A lot of peo­ple, like me, feel that the US is first in the world when it comes to twist­ing the truth, and ir­re­spon­si­ble and ab­surd logic,” Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing told a reg­u­lar press brief­ing.

“This logic is not eas­ily un­der­stood by all,” Hua said.

Trump’s re­fusal to di­rect crit­i­cism at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and in­stead blame other par­ties for a lack of progress comes de­spite re­ports the US re­ceived a bel­liger­ent let­ter from Py­ongyang, which prompted Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo to can­cel a planned trip to North Korea last week­end.

“We hope the US can play a pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive role in set­tling the is­sue just like the Chi­nese. To solve the prob­lem, it should look at it­self in­stead of shift­ing blame,” Hua added.

Speak­ing at the White House on Wed­nes­day, Trump said: “China makes it much more dif­fi­cult in terms of our re­la­tion­ship with North Korea.

“Part of the North Korea prob­lem is caused by the trade dis­putes with China,” Trump said.

But he in­sisted his ties with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping were “great” and that he had a “fan­tas­tic re­la­tion­ship” with North Korean leader Kim Jongun, whom he met in Sin­ga­pore in June.

The US pres­i­dent said he was not con­sid­er­ing re­sum­ing joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises on the Korean Penin­sula that Py­ongyang con­sid­ers “provoca­tive”.

Bei­jing is Py­ongyang’s sole ma­jor ally, and the main tran­sit coun­try for any goods en­ter­ing the North. Trump said that China, an­gered by US moves on trade, is no longer be­ing as tough as it could be on North Korea.

“We know that China is pro­vid­ing North Korea with con­sid­er­able aid, in­clud­ing money, fuel, fer­tiliser and var­i­ous other com­modi­ties. This is not help­ful!” he tweeted on Wed­nes­day.

On the sub­ject of mil­i­tary ex­er­cises, which the US sus­pended as a “good faith” mea­sure fol­low­ing Trump’s sum­mit with Kim, the pres­i­dent said “there is no rea­son at this time to be spend­ing large amounts of money on joint US-South Korea war games” though he added these could re­sume if the need arose.

It came a day af­ter De­fence Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis said the Pen­tagon was not plan­ning to sus­pend any more mil­i­tary drills, be­fore ap­pear­ing to back­track on Wed­nes­day by in­sist­ing “no de­ci­sions” had been made on the mat­ter.

De­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion

Trump also re­it­er­ated his wish to fun­da­men­tally al­ter the trade sta­tus quo be­tween the United States and China, the world’s top two economies.

He said he needed to take a tough stance with Bei­jing on trade “be­cause it was re­ally not fair to our coun­try”, crit­i­cis­ing his pre­de­ces­sors who “closed their eyes” to the is­sue.

In June, Trump and Kim pledged to work to­ward the “com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula” although their joint state­ment was short on de­tails for how that might be achieved.

Ef­forts stalled sev­eral weeks ago, and last week, Trump or­dered Pom­peo to can­cel a planned trip to Py­ongyang. At the time, Trump said that he did not be­lieve China was help­ing in the de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion process due to Wash­ing­ton’s tougher stance on trade.

Pom­peo said on Tues­day that Wash­ing­ton re­mains ready to en­gage “when it is clear that Chair­man Kim stands ready to de­liver on the com­mit­ments that he made at the Sin­ga­pore sum­mit to Pres­i­dent Trump to com­pletely de­nu­cle­arise North Korea”.

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