Two days after President Donald Trump tweeted he was "very disappointed" in China following Pyongyang's latest missile test adding that "we will no longer allow this to continue", Beijing has hit back at Trump on Monday, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution, according to a statement sent to Reuters by China's Foreign Ministry.
"All parties should have a correct understanding of this," it said, adding the international community widely recognized China's efforts to seek a resolution. The essence of Sino-U.S. trade is mutual benefit and win-win, with a vast amount of facts proving the healthy development of business and trade ties is good for both countries, the ministry added.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming, weighed in too, telling a news conference there was no link between the North Korea issue and China-U.S. 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.
Also on Monday, the state-run nationalistic Chinese tabloid Global Times said that "Pyongyang is determined to develop its nuclear and missile program and does not care about military threats from the U.S. and South Korea" adding "how could Chinese sanctions change the situation?"
China wants both balanced trade with the United States and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, its official Xinhua news agency added in a commentary. "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.
Reuters adds that "China has become increasingly frustrated with American and Japanese criticism that it should do more to rein in Pyongyang. China is North Korea's closest ally, but Beijing is angry with its continued nuclear and missile tests." China, with which North Korea does the large majority of its trade, has repeatedly said it strictly follows U.N. resolutions on North Korea and has denounced unilateral U.S. sanctions as unhelpful.
As reported yesterday, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said in a statement China must decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger U.N. sanctions on North Korea over Friday night's ICBM test, the North's second this month. Any new U.N. Security Council resolution "that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value", Haley said, adding that Japan and South Korea also needed to do more.
Separately, Japan's PM Abe told reporters after his conversation with Trump that repeated efforts by the international community to find a peaceful solution to the North Korean issue had yet to bear fruit in the face of Pyongyang's unilateral "escalation". "International society, including Russia and China, need to take this seriously and increase pressure," Abe said. He said Japan and the United States would take steps towards concrete action but did not give details. Abe and Trump did not discuss military action against North Korea, nor what would constitute the crossing of a "red line" by Pyongyang, Deputy Chief Cabinet spokesman Koichi Hagiuda told reporters.
Underscoring the rising severity of the North Korean situation, the United States flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of "lethal, overwhelming force" on Sunday in response to the missile test and the July 3 launch of the "Hwasong-14" rocket, the Pentagon said. The bombers took off from a U.S. air base in Guam and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets during the exercise.
"North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability," Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy said in a statement. "If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."
Meanwhile, South Korea's Kospi stock index, oblivious of the constant threat of military action in its northern neighbor, closed 0.07% in the green, just shy of all time highs.