President Donald Trump’s bellicose approach to handling relations with North Korea does not appear to be paying off. China is unimpressed with Trump’s threats and saber-rattling, and is sticking with their diplomatic approach to handling the authoritarian regime.
“There’s been a lot of wishful thinking on the U.S. side that China was coming around in its approach,” said John Delury, a Seoul professor who studies North Korean affairs.
Trump previously made remarks that China was coming around on North Korea, and the nation was willing to mirror his tough approach toward the repressive dictatorship. Trump’s optimistic talk turned out to be premature, and the Trump administration has shifted in recent weeks to aggressive rhetoric toward China as well.
“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us — but we had to give it a try,” Trump wrote in a Tweet published Wednesday. Nikki Haley, Trump’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, even went as far as threatening a trade war against the China if they continued to trade with North Korea.
According to a Reuters report, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said to reporters “that Washington sees no equivalence between North Korea’s weapons programs and U.S.-South Korean military exercises.” Therefore, the Trump administration “opposes a Russian-Chinese plan calling for both sides to freeze their activities.”
Chinese officials are not buying what the Trump administration is selling, and call for a peaceful solution to the North Korean problem. Chinese President Xi Jinping made that abundantly clear to Trump during a recent phone call between the leaders.
“President Xi made it clear that China wants a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, as well as a peaceful resolution to tensions,” Chinese propaganda network CCTV said in their report about the call.