President Donald Trump is charging China with complicating Washington’s relationship with North Korea, as talks on Pyongyang’s denuclearization are at a standstill.
‘China makes it much more difficult in terms of our relationship with North Korea,’ Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, though he insisted his ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping were ‘great.’
He also noted his ‘fantastic relationship’ with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he met in Singapore in June.
President Donald Trump says part of the problem with North Korea is Washington’s troubled trade ties with China
Trump, despite a trade battle, insists his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping was ‘great’
Trump also noted his ‘fantastic relationship’ with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
‘Part of the North Korea problem is caused by the trade disputes with China,’ Trump said.
Top North Korean officials warned the United States in a letter that denuclearization talks are ‘again at stake and may fall apart,’ CNN reported.
North Korea says the hold up is concerns the U.S. is not ready to sign a formal peace treaty ending the Korean War, replacing the armistice agreement in 1953.
But the Trump administration is putting the blame on the China, with whom its also in a trade scuffle.
The White House, in a statement sent on Twitter by Trump, said the president believes North Korea is under ‘tremendous pressure’ from China but that Beijing also was supplying Pyongyang with ‘considerable aid,’ including fuel, fertilizer and commodities.
‘This is not helpful!’ the statement said.
Beijing is Pyongyang’s sole major ally, and the main transit country for any goods entering the North. Trump has suggested that China – angered by U.S. moves on trade – is no longer being as tough as it could be on North Korea.
In the past week, the United States has hit China with $16 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.
Retaliation by Beijing will bring the amount of trade affected by the dispute to $100 billion.
Trump issued a statement via Twitter on the situation with North Korea
Trump has threatened to impose more tariffs on some $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing has promised retaliation.
‘I don’t like to call it a trade war,’ Trump said Wednesday.
He also sounded a hopeful note in a long statement posted to Twitter Wednesday evening: ‘As for the U.S.–China trade disputes, and other differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping.’
He noted: ‘Their relationship and bond remain very strong.’
Trump 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,’ Trump said, throwing shade on his predecessors who ‘closed their eyes’ to the issue.
In June, Trump and Kim pledged to work toward the ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’
But those efforts stalled several weeks ago, and last week, Trump ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel a planned trip to Pyongyang.
Pompeo said 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 denuclearize North Korea.
Last week, Trump ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel a planned trip to Pyongyang
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted that ‘no decisions’ had been made about suspending additional military exercises with South Korea
On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that Washington believes ‘denuclearization has to take place before we get to other parts,’ confirming that included such a declaration.
Additionally, Trump addressed questions about military exercises with South Korea, saying ‘there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games. Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses.’
He also vowed: ‘If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before.’
His statement contradicted his Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who insisted earlier Wednesday that ‘no decisions’ had been made about suspending additional military exercises with South Korea, one day after he suggested the moratorium on large drills had ended.
In June, after the Singapore Summit, the United States said it would suspend ‘select’ exercises with South Korea, including the large-scale Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises slated for August.
‘The Department of Defense suspended three individual military exercises in order to provide space for our diplomats to negotiate the verifiable, irreversible and complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,’ Mattis said in a statement.
‘Our military posture has not changed since the conclusion of the Singapore summit and no decisions have been made about suspending any future exercises,’ he added.