Before hitting the links on Sunday, US President Donald Trump once again took to Twitter to comment on the world’s most dangerous geopolitical situation with a customary early morning tweetstorm that blamed China for failing to solve the North Korean crisis — which Trump claims that it could do “easily.”
I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Ahead of becoming the leader of the free world, Trump appeared to firmly believe that China had complete control over its tiny and impoverished neighbor. Out on the campaign trail, Trump even declared that he would get China to make Kim Jong-un “disappear in one form or another very quickly.” He also made these tweets in 2013:
North Korea is reliant on China. China could solve this problem easily if they wanted to but they have no respect for our leaders.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2013
China has control over North Korea!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2013
North Korea can't survive, or even eat, without the help of China. China could solve this problem with one phone call-they love taunting us!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 5, 2013
China is pushing North Korea!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2013
China controls North Korea. So now besides cyber hacking us all day, they are using the Norks to taunt us. China is a major threat.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2013
However, since becoming president, his views on the subject appear to have become somewhat more nuanced, particularly following a 10-minute-long China-Korean history lesson given by Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April which made the American president come to the realization that “it’s not so easy.”
But, judging from his Twitter account, Trump appears to periodically forget this lesson in a continual war with himself about whether or not China really is trying to do something about the volatile situation in the Korean Peninsula. If you can, try to follow along with the president’s thinking over the last seven months:
China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been "playing" the United States for years. China has done little to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2017
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2017
I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017
China is very much the economic lifeline to North Korea so, while nothing is easy, if they want to solve the North Korean problem, they will
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017
North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile…but China is trying hard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2017
While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
….and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017
Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2017
This sort of rhetoric is presumably taking a toll on the “amazing” relationship that Trump and Xi have built up over frequent phone calls and chocolate cake — though, when not on Twitter, Trump continues to speak well of the Chinese president, even praising him just hours after Liu Xiaobo’s death.
However, at least this time Trump’s tweet was backed up by the words of another important US official. On Sunday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the US was “done talking about North Korea,” calling on China to decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger sanctions on the Hermit Kingdom.
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