Both coronaviruses are linked to live animal markets, where sick, injured and dying animals are sold as exotic foods but end up transmitting disease. For too long, wildlife traders have been allowed to hide behind empty claims of medicine or conservation.
Donald Trump claims to be cleaning up the ‘fiery mess’ Barack Obama left on the Korean peninsula, when in fact he was the one who started the fire. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un is playing Trump’s obsession with personal diplomacy to North Korea’s advantage.
US-China tensions made it easier for the Chinese authorities to act on behalf of the country’s wildlife business interests. However, international outrage might have convinced the authorities that they had conceded too much to the wildlife industry, prompting a rethink.
China’s dominance in North Korea’s economy and security matters is unparalleled and Kim Jong-un knows it. For its part, Beijing won’t easily give up its influence, given Pyongyang’s strategic importance.