Trump blames China for stalled North Korea talks and threatens to relaunch South Korea war games

'The President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses'

Adam Withnall
Thursday 30 August 2018 06:43
Comments
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un meet for first time

Donald Trump has accused China of scuppering peace talks with North Korea in retaliation for its ongoing trade dispute with the US, threatening to revisit war games with South Korea if sufficient progress cannot be made.

Tweeting a White House statement in segments on Wednesday, Mr Trump primarily took aim at Beijing, accusing China’s Xi Jinping of putting North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “under tremendous pressure” not to work with the US.

“At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities,” the statement said. ”This is not helpful!”

The statement also included a thinly veiled threat towards North Korea, warning military exercises with South Korea and Japan could be resumed “instantly” if Mr Trump gave the order. The US agreed to halt the war games after Mr Trump’s summit with Mr Kim in Singapore, in a major concession to North Korea’s demands.

Military leaders were caught by surprise when he ordered that suspension, describing the exercises as “provocative” and expensive.

Mr Trump still thinks “there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint US-South Korea war games”, according to the statement. “Besides, the president can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before.”

Above all else, the tweets serve to highlight Mr Trump’s idiosyncratic method of conducting diplomacy – threatening a huge show of force and dealing out accusations, while also insisting on the warmth of his relationships with both Mr Kim and Mr Xi.

On North Korea, the statement added: “The president believes that his relationship with Kim Jong-un is a very good and warm one”. On China, it said the trade dispute represented “differences [that] will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong.”

Back in June there were hopes that the gesture of shelving the US-South Korea exercises would foster goodwill and help nudge the North towards denuclearisation talks. But beyond returning the potential remains of about 55 American soldiers missing from the Korean War, and its continuing suspension in its own missile and nuclear tests, there has been little movement from Pyongyang.

As a result, the US abandoned a planned trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, citing the lack of progress.

As concerns grow that North Korea is in fact expanding some of its nuclear facilities, Mr Trump’s attacks on Beijing have become more pointed.

China cooperated with the US last year in adopting tough international sanctions against North Korea and maintains it is still enforcing the restrictions adopted by the UN Security Council.

Mr Trump’s tweets also come in the wake of comments from other US officials, including defence secretary Jim Mattis, suggesting plans are being put in place for exercises with South Korea next spring. One official told the Reuters news agency preliminary work had begun, noting it is much easier to cancel an exercise than it is to put one together quickly.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in