The Wall Street Journal reports: Addressing questions about Mr. Trump’s tweets [on North Korea] during a regular press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China’s efforts to solve the North Korean nuclear issue “are clear for all to see.”
Mr. Geng pointed to China’s convening of six-nation talks aimed at convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear program, as well as its support for United Nations sanctions against its ally. He added that any problems in the economic relationship between the U.S. and China should be “properly addressed through dialogue and consultation,” but avoided commenting on whether Mr. Trump’s use of Twitter helped or hindered diplomatic discussions.
“We don’t pay attention to the features of foreign leaders’ behavior. We focus more on their policies,” he said.
Members of China’s U.S.- and North Korea-watching community also largely shrugged off Mr. Trump’s tweets.
Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University, said U.S. frustration with Beijing over North Korea is nothing new. “Trump’s comments regarding China’s perceived passivity on North Korea’s nuclear program are very much in line with the overwhelming consensus view in U.S. diplomatic circles,” said Mr. Shi.
Although Mr. Trump, as a presidential candidate, signaled a more conciliatory approach toward Mr. Kim, including the possibility of a face-to-face meeting, the president-elect will find it difficult to honor this promise without significant concessions from Pyongyang, Mr. Shi said.
Mr. Trump’s hostile tone may damp optimism in Pyongyang about dialogue with the new U.S. administration and it may “adjust its position accordingly,” said Wang Sheng, a professor at China’s Jilin University who studies China-North Korea relations. [Continue reading…]