Asia-Middle East Relations

China rejects Trump’s criticism over North Korea:

China slams US President Donald Trump for pointing the finger of blame at Beijing over the North Korean military program, calling on all sides to make joint efforts towards the resolution of the issue.

In a statement sent to Reuters Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to Trump’s latest tweets, where he said he was “very disappointed” with Beijing after North Korea test launched another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Trump had written, “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them (the Chinese) to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.”

The Chinese ministry said in the statement that North Korea’s nuclear issue did not arise because of China, and that everyone needed to work together to seek a resolution.

North Korea claimed on Saturday it had conducted a new successful test of an ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland, the North’s second this month. Pyongyang says it needs its nuclear weapons and missiles as a deterrent against US aggression and expansionism.

China is viewed as North Korea’s closest ally, but it has been critical of Pyongyang’s continued nuclear and missile tests.

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper also wrote Monday that Beijing’s sanctions would not change the situation while Pyongyang is “determined to develop its nuclear and missile program and does not care about military threats from the US and South Korea.”

Its official Xinhua news agency also said in a commentary that Beijing seeks balanced commerce with Washington and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“However, to realize these goals, Beijing needs a more cooperative partner in the White House, not one who piles blame on China for the United States’ failures,” it added.

In New York, China’s UN ambassador said it is primarily up to Washington and Pyongyang, not Beijing, to reduce tensions and work toward resuming talks.

“No matter how capable China is, China’s efforts will not yield practical results because it depends on the two principal parties,” Liu said.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming responded telling a news conference there was no link between the North Korea issue and China-US trade.

“We think the North Korea nuclear issue and China-US trade are issues that are in two completely different domains. They aren’t related. They should not be discussed together,” Qian said.

Russia, following the same line, said the US and other countries were trying “to shift responsibility for the situation to Russia and China.”

“We view as groundless attempts undertaken by the US and a number of other countries to shift responsibility to Russia and China, almost blaming Moscow and Beijing for indulging the missile and nuclear ambitions of the DPRK (North Korea),” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Following the North Korean test, US B-1B bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force on Sunday. The bombers took off from a US air base in Guam and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets during the drill.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said in a statement. “We are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

Asked by a reporter on Monday how he plans to deal with Pyongyang, Trump said, “We’ll handle North Korea… It will be handled.”

On the diplomatic scene, Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, has been urging other countries to impose stronger UN sanctions on North Korea to stop its nuclear and weapons development programs.

She said for the sanctions to be effective and meaningful, other countries, China in particular, need to back them.

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