President Donald Trump recently called on China to put economic and political pressure on the North Korea regime. Yesterday, China proved they were listening, cutting off imports from the country. Winning this economic concession between China and North Korea is a significant victory for the Trump administration.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump often targeted China for their economic practices and leadership failures on the world stage. He promised to hold China accountable for their actions, and was widely criticized for it. Democrats and members of the mainstream media mocked what they saw as naive rhetoric. They doubted he could force China to do anything they didn’t want to do.
In the first 100 days of his presidency, however, President Trump has forced China to make a major shift, something President Obama never did during his eight years.
As President Donald Trump and Xi Jinping were meeting Friday at Mar-a-Lago, China ordered trading companies to return coal shipments from North Korea, Reuters reported, citing several Chinese trading sources. A Reuters analytics platform detected multiple North Korean ships returning to Nampo with full loads.
Dandong Chengtai, one of the largest buyers of North Korean coal, told Reuters the Trump administration has been pressuring China to deal with the threat North Korea poses. Trump hinted Tuesday morning that he offered Chinese incentives to address this issue.
“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” Trump tweeted, adding, “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!”
China is reportedly using U.S. coal to correct the shortfall caused by bans on North Korean coal. The move plays into Trump’s efforts to revive the domestic coal industry. China did not import any U.S. coking coal between late 2014 and 2016, but coal shipments rose to 400,000 tonnes by the end of February.
U.S. and Chinese visions for North Korea are still divergent, but current activity suggests a certain degree of cooperation between the two major powers.
At the very least, Chinese actions indicate that Beijing is also losing patience with its aggressive neighbor, which has, in recent weeks, launched over half a dozen missiles and tested new rocket engines for possible intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the U.S. and other distant targets.
Perhaps President Trump’s action against Syria is causing Beijing to rethink their political strategy. Their concession on North Korea is only the beginning of issues Trump will have to address. China has an abyssmal record on human rights, including the well-documented persecution of Christians. China is currently causing an international uproar by creating artificial islands in the South Pacific and using them to establish a military foothold outside of their borders.
Trump has also called on China to stop their currency manipulation, which costs American jobs and increases our trade deficit. The President has also made gestures to recognize the independent sovereignty of Taiwan, a country China claims is under their control.
It remains to be seen if China wil continue to shift on these issues to keep President Trump,, and America, on their side.
What do you think about the trade issue between China and North Korea? Is Trump forcing them to change their tune? Let us know in the comments, and in addition, share this on social media.