One month after Trump’s ominously tweeted in the aftermath of Otto Warmbier’s death, that while he greatly appreciates the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, “it has not worked out”, confirming that the post Mar-A-Lago honeymoon period was officially over, moments ago the president blasted out his latest two tweets Saturday tweets, #12 and 13, in which he said he was “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!” Trump tweeted one day after North Korea launched its second successful ICBM in the past month, one which according to both experts and Kim Jong-Un, can reach most US metro areas.
Relations between the world’s two largest economies soured after an initial honeymoon between Trump and President Xi Jinping. The U.S. last month sanctioned a regional Chinese bank, a shipping company and two Chinese citizens over dealings with North Korea, which could be a precursor to greater economic and financial pressure on Beijing to rein in its errant neighbor.
Trump has also vowed to put more pressure on China to do help curb Pyongyang’s rapidly advancing programs, which however judging by the recent spike in Chinese exports to NKorea, has not been successful.
Meanwhile, the primary reason why China has been urging all involved parties to remain calm, yet does nothing to curb Kim’s provocative launches, is that as Bloomberg reports, “China is betting that U.S. President Donald Trump won’t make good on his threats of a military strike against North Korea, with Beijing continuing to provide a lifeline to Kim Jong Un’s regime.”
China on Saturday condemned the latest test while calling for restraint from all parties, a muted reaction to Pyongyang’s progress on an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. Despite Kim’s provocations, analysts said Beijing still sees the collapse of his regime as a more immediate strategic threat, and doubts Trump would pull the trigger given the risk of a war with North Korea that could kill millions.
“The military option the Americans are threatening won’t likely happen because the stakes will be too high,” said Liu Ming, director of the Korean Peninsula Research Center at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. “It’s a pretext and an excuse to pile up pressure on China. It’s more like blackmail than a realistic option.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson singled out China and Russia as “economic enablers” of North Korea after Kim on Friday test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile for the second time in a matter of weeks. While Tillerson said the U.S. wants a peaceful resolution to the tensions, the top American general called his South Korean counterpart after the launch to discuss a potential military response.
China’s biggest fears remain a collapse of Kim’s regime that sparks a protracted refugee crisis and a beefed-up U.S. military presence on its border. And now that Trump’s new Chief of Staff is a 45 year army veteran, who will be whispering in Trump’s ear just what any other general whispers to a president vis-a-vis “defensive-yet-offensive” wars, China’s “biggest fear” may be about to come true.