How will China Rein in North Korea under Pressure of U.S. Pres. Trump?
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How will China Rein in North Korea under Pressure of U.S. Pres. Trump?
U.S. President Trump’s interview with Wall Street Journal shows some specifics of what had been discussed with his summit talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping

01(Mon), May, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping while holding their first summit talks with at his Mar-a-Largo estate in Florida on April 6 since the former’s inauguration.

U.S. President Donald Trump hinted over the possibility of a deal with China to solve North Korea’s nuclear issue in exchange for giving more favorable trade terms.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, U.S. President Trump gave some specifics of what had been discussed during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Largo estate in Florida on April 6. The two leaders took up such topics as North Korea’s nuclear arms issue. He also tipped off President Xi about the U.S. military’s bombing of Syria in retaliation for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad government’s use of chemical weapons.

“They’re not currency manipulators,” Trump said. His remarks are a far cry from one of the public pledges he made during his campaign that he would designate China as a currency manipulator. U.S. President Trump said on the Twitter on April 13 that he was confidant China would handle North Korea properly. He has been employing “pressure tactics” to address the North Korean nuclear issue, in such a way that his now-famous “Thank You” Tweet last February coerced Samsung Electronics to make a plan to invest in the United States. 

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tianka said on China’s state-run CCTV on April 16 that the two leaders took up the North Korean nuclear issue as their first topic, but insisted that China’s position remained unchanged, a move to block a fait accompli of the Trump administration China would have to solve the North Korean issue. 

Speculation on agreements over the North Korean issue between the United States and China have surfaced. China has shelved its sale of tourism products to North Korea, Chinese state-run media outlets changed from their previous position that the North Korean nuclear issue is between the U.S. and North Korea. Some said that China would stop supplying crude oil, a lifeline to North Korea, if the latter conduct a sixth nuclear test. 

It remains to be seen whether China wields the kind of leverage to pressure North Korea, as the U.S. hopes. But China now suffers a headache on how to handle North Korea under the pressure of President Trump, a departure from former U.S. President Barack Obama’s hands-off attitude. The Unites States’ consideration of military options against North Korea is major a burden for China. The U.S. has hinted at the imposing of a “secondary boycott” by penalizing Chinese companies trading with North Korea and taking retaliatory steps against China regarding the North Korean issue. 

At a news conference to wrap up his official visit to Korea following talks with Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn at his residence on April 17, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said “strategic patience,” the past approach with its allies for peacefully dismantling North Korea’s nuclear arms programs, was gone. Pence said that the United States and its allies have made joint efforts centered around a “peaceful” solution toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula since 1992. But he made it clear that “all options are now on the table.” The message may be construed as a warning from the United States over punitive steps against North Korea, including possible military actions, if the communist state conducts a nuclear test or additional provocations. 

President Xi’s Makes Controversial Remark that ‘Korea was Part of China’

Controversy flared up over Chinese President Xi’s controversial and incorrect remark that “Korea was historically part of China” during his talks with U.S. President Trump. In the interview with the Wall Street Journal, the president said President Xi made the remark while discussing the North Korean issue during their tet-a-tet talks. 

The controversy flared up when the U.S. online media outlet Quartz posted the remarks, which were originally omitted by the Wall Street Journal. In the interview, President Trump said President Xi talked about thousands of years of history and wars between China and Korea, and in reality, Korea had been part of China, and he learned that pressuring North Korea was not easy. 

Amid such remarks, Korean experts are now wondering what position China would take if the Korean Peninsula was ever reunified. President Trump’s lack of understanding over the significance of such remarks were clear. China claims that the ancient Korean kingdom of Goguryeo, now part of North Korea, and southern Manchuria was historically under its rule. An official of the Korean Foreign Ministry said that it is a clear fact recognized by the international community that Korea was not a part of China at any point over thousands of years of history between Korea and China. 

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