Beijing has rejected President Donald Trump’s claim that China has “tremendous control over North Korea” and could “solve the problem very easily.”
Trump said Thursday China could end the “very dangerous situation” in North Korea. China, however, asserts that the North Korean nuclear threat is strictly between Pyongyang and Washington.
“We have said many times already that the crux of the North Korean nuclear issue is the problem between the United States and North Korea,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang explained Friday. “We hope the relevant parties can shoulder their responsibilities, play the role they should, and together with China play a constructive role for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and for its denuclearization,” he added.
Geng’s comments reflect those previously issued by his foreign ministry colleague.
“The cause and crux of the North Korean nuclear issue rest with the U.S. rather than China,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying argued after North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test last year.
“The core of the issue is the conflict between the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and the U.S. It is the U.S. who should reflect upon how the situation has become what it is today and search for a better solution. It is better for the doer to undo what he has done. The U.S. should shoulder its due responsibilities,” she added.
China has agreed to put pressure on North Korea, but it would prefer to maintain stable relations with its “friendly neighbor.” China publicly condemns North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic provocations and upholds sanctions, when its convenient, but it prefers diplomacy and negotiations to strategic pressure.
China claims it cannot stop North Korea.
“The truth on the Korean nuclear issue is that China has no magic wand to single-handedly right what’s wrong on the peninsula,” a Xinhua commentary explained. “Its influence over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a sovereign country, has been exaggerated.”
“Like it or not, the Trump administration may need to accept the fact that preventing the area from engaging in a potential nuclear arms race and bringing lasting stability requires a collective effort and a reorientation of a decades-old coercive and non-communicative policy that has been passed down from one administration to the next.”
“Diplomacy, not sanctions, is the only viable path to denuclearize the peninsula,” the article concludes.
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