U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday released a White House Statement blaming China for a lack of progress on North Korean denuclearization, adding that Beijing was providing North Korea with large quantities aid.
The statement was released via social media and indicated that Washington’s trade disputes with China were stalling forward momentum.
“President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government,” Trump tweeted.
“At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!”
The comments come amid a widening gulf between Washington’s approach to UN sanctions enforcement and that of other countries in the region.
Even ally South Korea has expressed that it wished to pursue inter-Korean projects without asking for the UN for sanctions exemptions, opting to transfer restricted materials to the Kaesong Industrial Complex with the intention of opening a liaison office.
The White House Statement also appeared to walk back on comments yesterday from U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who told reporters there were no plans to suspend additional joint drills with South Korea.
“We took the step to suspend several of the largest military exercises as a good faith measure … There is no discussion about further suspensions,” Mattis said during a press conference at the Pentagon.
The U.S. and South Korea did not conduct the annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian drills this year, while two Korean marine exchange program exercises were also shelved.
The apparent contradiction follows on from last week when Trump canceled U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to Pyongyang 24 hours after it was announced.
“Nonetheless, the President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,” Trump tweeted.
“Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before.”
The statement finished by saying that the Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will be able to resolve the ongoing trade dispute “in time” as their bond remains “very strong.”
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Featured Image: White House by ash_crow on 2012-07-11 15:26:49