US President Donald Trump has regularly called on China to stop North Korea’s nuclear advancement, even saying in July it could “easily” end the crisis. In Beijing, however, leaders think the opposite.
While the United States and China agree that the Korean peninsula should be rid of nuclear weapons, they differ on how best to achieve that. The sense of urgency is heightened in Washington, as the US suddenly finds itself potentially in range of Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons, whereas China and North Korea’s other neighbours have lived with that threat for years.
Trump has said China should use its economic leverage as North Korea’s top trading partner to quickly end Kim’s nuclear ambitions.
China, however, sees no need to trigger a potential catastrophe on its border over what it regards as fundamentally a dispute between the US and North Korea. Indeed, Beijing has warned that rhetoric from both sides – the US has threatened military action against North Korea – is making things worse.