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Donald Trump

Donald Trump slams China for not helping contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 10:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 10:14pm

US president-elect Donald Trump has fired yet another salvo at China through Twitter, this time accusing Beijing of refusing to help contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

After North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a New Year’s Day address that Pyongyang had reached the “final stages” of testing its first intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach American soil, Trump tweeted on Monday: “It won’t happen!”

And the president-in-waiting didn’t miss his chance to direct blame at China.

In a second tweet later in the day, he criticised Beijing for not helping to control Pyongyang’s development of its nuclear weapons.

“China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea. Nice!” he wrote.

Trump, who spent Monday with advisers at Trump Tower in New York after a holiday in Florida, did not specify what, if anything, the United States might do under his command to stop North Korea from developing the missile.

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The president-elect’s tweets came after defected senior North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho gave intelligence to the South Korean authorities about Kim Jong-un’s determination to develop nuclear weapons and how close Pyongyang was to success.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called for all parties to avoid escalating tensions and return to negotiations as soon as possible.

“China’s stance is clear, we insist on denuclearisation in the [Korean] Peninsular, peace and stability, dialogue and negotiation. China’s efforts are evident,” Geng said.

The state-run Chinese tabloid the Global Times said Donald Trump’s comments showed he was “pandering to irresponsible attitudes”. It said Pyongyang’s nuclear programme “stokes the anxieties of some Americans” who blame China rather than looking inwards.

Ruan Zongze, an international relations expert at the China Institute of International Studies, said Trump’s attacks were aimed at stepping up pressure on China.

“Donald Trump definitely wants to send a signal to Beijing that the US wants to push more responsibility for dealing with the DPRK situation to China.” Ruan said.

He added, however, that sanctions alone would not be enough to solve the issue.

“The US and South Korea need to return to the negotiating table with the DPRK because clearly the pressure from sanctions is not enough to push Kim Jong-un to give up on nuclear development.”

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Matthias Maass, an associate professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, said it was only a matter of time before North Korea fully developed its nuclear capability and China was in a difficult position handling Pyongyang.

“China sits between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “China has been hoping to get a controllable North Korea that serves as a buffer state and accepts Beijing’s leadership.

“This hope seems getting more and more naive by the day or, to be accurate, with each step of an independent, meaningful North Korean nuclear force because it frees Pyongyang from its dependence on China for ultimate security from any threats from the South.”

Trump’s latest attack against China comes after the Chinese navy seized a US underwater drone in the contested South China Sea last month.

Misspelling “unprecedented”, he tweeted after the seizure: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act.” He later reissued the tweet, correcting the spelling

He later tweeted: “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back. Let them keep it!”