Donald Trump has launched his latest twitter assault on China, accusing its Communist party leaders of doing “NOTHING” to help the United States thwart North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons.
“I am very disappointed in China,” Trump wrote.“Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet … they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.
“We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” he added.
The comments came after Kim Jong-un celebrated his country’s second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test late on Friday, in what North Korean state media described as a warning to the “beast-like US imperialists”.
On Saturday, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, accused Russia and China of being North Korea’s “principal economic enablers” and claimed they bore “unique and special responsibility” for its “belligerent” quest of nuclear weapons.
Conservative news outlets in the US appeared to relish Trump’s decision to assail Beijing for its alleged role in North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
“Trump rips China on Twitter,” ran a Fox News headline.
Beijing is likely to be less amused.
“To some extent, I think Trump’s tweets are a bluff. But the Chinese government has to take this seriously,” said Li Yonghui, an international relations expert from Beijing’s Foreign Language University.
Li said he expected Trump’s planned state visit to China later this year to still go ahead, despite growing tensions between Washington and Beijing. But China now needed to brace itself for “unfavourable measures in the near future” from the White House, he warned.
Dali Yang, an expert in Chinese politics from the University of Chicago, said that in recent weeks China had enjoyed a temporary respite from Trump’s attentions because of his battle to repeal Obamacare. “Now that breathing room is gone and of course Beijing has to manage this,” he said.