“Trump is wrong in his assumption that Beijing can single-handedly handle the matter. As Beijing has said, repeatedly, it does not have the kind of ‘control’ over Pyongyang that the U.S. president believes it does,” said English-language newspaper China Daily in an unsigned editorial.
The editorial appeared to be responding to Trump’s accusations on Twitter that China was doing “nothing for us with North Korea, just talk.” The president made that claim following the reclusive nation’s firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say has the potential to reach the U.S. mainland.
In its editorial, China Daily said Pyongyang’s constant saber-rattling is a threat to China too, as the world’s second largest economy “feels threatened by the damage Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions may inflict on its immediate neighborhood.”
“For that reason, although U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed frustration at what he considers Beijing’s failure to dissuade Pyongyang from its nuclear adventure, Beijing has every reason to feel unfairly burdened with a task that is obviously beyond it, especially as it has been working diligently to broker a peaceful resolution to the crisis,” it added.
“Nor will Beijing accept Trump’s allegation that it has done nothing. From Beijing’s perspective, it has significantly increased the pressure on Pyongyang by doing everything the strengthened UN sanctions regime requires of it.”
The editorial said a peaceful consensus is best, although that “appears increasingly distant and unachievable.”
Commentaries in state media offer additional insight into government thinking.
In China’s latest official response on the crisis, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Saturday that China “opposes” North Korea’s launch activities, which violate UN Security Council resolutions and “run counter to the collective will of the international community.”