Solving the problem of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula has turned into one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities. However, despite two summits, signing an agreement with Kim Jong-un and a symbolic visit to North Korean territory, Pyongyang has continued testing a new rocket launcher, firing several missiles only recently.
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, who arrived in New York just several days ago, has signalled that the US will not be able to totally count on Beijing’s support for its North Korean policy, if it further presses China amid their trade row.
“We should also remind ourselves that if we want to cooperate, we have to demonstrate to your partner the spirit of cooperation. It will be hard to imagine that on the one hand you’re seeking the cooperation from your partner but on the other hand you’re hurting the interest of your partner”, the diplomat noted, as cited by Bloomberg, a day after US President Donald Trump announced new 10% import tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.
China, which has historically been North Korea’s biggest trade partner, backed the US efforts to secure international sanctions against Pyongyang in 2017. But as the Chinese diplomat hinted, sanctions might be eased.
“What we’re trying to do is to be helpful in promoting peace and stability there and to promote denuclearisation. It’s also for that purpose that we think at the appropriate time, action should be taken to ease the sanctions, but we are still consulting with each other and we have not made any final decision”, Zhang Jun said.
Commenting on the strained Sino-American trade relations, the ambassador noted: “If the US wishes to talk, then we will talk. If they want to fight, then we will fight”. He insisted that China will never sacrifice its fundamental interests and an open international economy.
“We are not only fighting for China alone, we are also fighting for an open international economy, for free trade, for an open, non-discriminatory, and reliable multilateral trading system”, he said.
His rant came hot on the heels of reports that Pyongyang, under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, fired short-range projectiles to test its new rocket launcher for the second time this week. The first test of ballistic, short-range missiles that landed in the Sea of Japan occurred on Wednesday. Another test took place on 25 July.
The reports about the latest test prompted Donald Trump to take to Twitter, insisting that these launches do not undo his diplomatic efforts and achievements. According to him, they are not a violation of their signed Singapore agreement, and “there was no discussion of short range missiles when we shook hands”.
“Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain – the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited. Also, there is far too much to lose”, Trump tweeted, admitting that these tests might be UN violations.
The US president concluded with what might seem like a veiled signal to the North Korean head of state, expressing his conviction that Kim “will do the right thing”.
“He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!” he said.