Chinese state media smacked President Trump for his “emotional venting” on Twitter, after Trump repeatedly pressured the country to take a more assertive stand against North Korea’s nuclear program.
“Trump is quite a personality, and he likes to tweet,” said Xinhua, the official state news agency, in an editorial on Monday. “But emotional venting cannot become a guiding policy for solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula.”
The editorial followed Trump’s Twitter critique on Saturday that China was not doing enough to contain North Korea, which on Friday tested a missile that could theoretically hit the United States. “I am very disappointed in China,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
The Chinese news service wasn’t having it. “Taking out this outrage on China is clearly finding the wrong target,” said Xinhua. “What the peninsula needs is immediately stamping out the fire, not adding kindling or, even worse, pouring oil on the flames,” Xinua said. That could, it added, “evolve into a localized conflict, or even the outbreak of war, with unthinkable repercussions.”
The United States “must not continue spurning responsibility” for the North Korean situation, it added, “and even less should it stab China in the back.”
Trump has had a fraught relationship with China. During the presidential campaign, he called the country a “currency manipulator,” a claim he reversed after taking office. In April, he invited Chinese president Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he sounded sympathetic to Jinping’s side of the North Korea issue. “After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “I felt pretty strongly that [China] had a tremendous power over North Korea. But it’s not what you would think.”
On June 20, Trump appeared more frustrated with China, tweeting, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”
While Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have turned up the pressure on China, the Chinese government has argued that the U.S., South Korea and Japan must step up in any negotiations with North Korea.