Donald Trump lashes out at China over North Korea trade: 'So much for China working with us'

The West has few good options for dealing with the North Korean threat

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 05 July 2017 13:29
North Korean broadcaster airs footage of missile launch

Donald Trump has attacked China over its increasing trade with North Korea, in the wake of Pyongyang's latest missile test having increased tensions in the region.

In the latest indication of Mr Trump's cooling views on China, a nation to which he had recently displayed considerable warmth and optimism, the President implied the White House's efforts to work with the Asian country had failed.

"Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!," he tweeted.

Mr Trump has been pushing China - North Korea's largest trading partner - to try and rein in the isolated nation over its nuclear programme, having tweeted after Tuesday's missile test that he hoped China would "put a heavy move" on the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The latest missile test by North Korea involved an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which some experts believe could have the range to reach the US state of Alaska.

The test marked a new milestone in the North Korean nuclear programme, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying the test, on the eve of the US Independence Day holiday, represented “a new escalation of the threat” to the United States and its allies, and vowed to take stronger measures.

The launch came days after the first face-to-face meeting between Mr Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and ahead of a G20 summit of the world's richest economies in Germany.

On Wednesday, US and South Korean troops, in response to the ICBM launch, engineered a show of force for North Korea, with soldiers from the allies firing “deep strike” precision missiles into South Korean territorial waters. Mr Moon ordered the drills with the United States to show “North Korea our firm combined missile response posture,” his office said.

Mr Trump posted his tweet as he prepared to head to Europe for the G20 summit in Germany, during which he is due to have a bilateral meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. As he left the White House, he responded to a question about his actions for North Korea. He said: “We're going to do very well.”

The President’s first stop was due to be Poland, for a brief visit that will include a speech in Krasinski Square, near the site of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis. He will also meet with the leaders of Poland and Croatia and hold a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, according to the Associated Press.

Mr Trump’s priorities for the meeting may get superseded by North Korea’s latest missile launch in defiance of international treaties, an action that the West has limited decent options with which to respond.

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