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Time for Talk Is Over on North Korea

01 August 2017

Given recent developments, it is my assessment that China will not deter North Korea unless the United States exacts greater economic pressure on China.

Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming's remarks Monday followed tweets by President Donald Trump complaining that China had benefited massively from trade with the USA while providing no help resolving problems with North Korea. His concern, however, was not North Korea but fear that China would close the technology gap between the USA and Chinese militaries. Trump responded to the test by ripping China's leadership on Twitter.

While China worries about North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, and the US reaction to them, its overriding concern, USA officials say, is to avoid a North Korean collapse, which could send millions of refugees fleeing toward China and lead to a reunified Korea allied with Washington. Xinhua's editorial pointed that out, saying taming North Korea is not China's responsibility and the United States should not "stab China in the back".

The changes came as the government increased scrutiny of overseas investment and reined in speculative deals by Chinese companies in sectors such as property, sports and entertainment.

"We will handle North Korea".

European Union 'Stands Ready to Act' Over US Sanctions on Russian Federation
But northern European Union states in particular have sought to shield the supplies of Russian gas that they rely on. Any retaliatory measure against the U.S. would require the support of the group of countries opposing Nord Stream 2.

As China's outbound investment has become less risky, the government will continue to encourage legal overseas investments, especially in projects tied to the Belt and Road Initiative, and will help with the development of domestic industries, a senior commerce official said on Monday.

China's already backing out of that suggestion, saying they can't really do anything by themselves, and suggesting the U.S. and North Korea need to talk between themselves to solve the situation.

Liu Jieyi, Beijing's ambassador to the United Nations, said overnight: "No matter how capable China is, China's efforts will not yield practical results because it depends on the two principal parties".

"Instead of de-escalating tension we see of course further testing that we oppose and we also see language and action from elsewhere that heightens tension, talking about 'all options on the table, '" he said. He reiterated China's support for a proposal to freeze North Korea's nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the United States and South Korea halting large-scale military exercises on the Korean Peninsula.

Time for Talk Is Over on North Korea