President Trump hammered China for their many sins against the United States on the campaign trail last year, but he took a far different tone with the Communists when he arrived in the White House. Optimistic that he could convince President Xi Jinping to put increased pressure on North Korea, Trump changed his tune and stopped talking about currency manipulation, steel tariffs, and the sovereignty of Taiwan. But after North Korea proved this week that they could hit Alaska with an intercontinental ballistic missile, President Trump appeared to realize that China never had any intention of following through with their promises.
“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!”
When Trump was still trying to work with China in the early months of his presidency, he attempted to use the carrot of trade negotiations to lure President Xi over to the American way of thinking on North Korea. In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump appeared to go back to the heart of his campaign rhetoric, musing about the lopsided trade deals that benefit governments like the one in Beijing.
“The United States made some of the worst Trade Deals in world history. Why should we continue these deals with countries that do not help us?” Trump wrote.
Of course, Trump didn’t just figure out this week that China’s help had failed to fully materialize. In a tweet on June 20, he said, “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!”
Now he may be learning that China’s “trying” was not what it seemed to be. That, in fact, the Communist regime has done everything possible to keep Kim Jong Un afloat while the rest of the world condemns the mad dictator’s quest for nuclear proliferation.
And unfortunately, this week’s demonstration of ICBM technology means the calculus on North Korea has changed. With Pyongyang capable of hitting Alaska with an intercontinental strike, it is no longer even theoretically feasible for the U.S. to launch a pre-emptive attack on the regime. And, if North Korea’s leader is to be believed, he is no longer interested in any negotiations that have as their goal his country’s de-nuclearization.
Kim Jong Un said North Korea “would neither put its nukes and ballistic rockets on the table of negotiations in any case nor flinch even an inch from the road of bolstering the nuclear force chosen by itself unless the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat to the DPRK are definitely terminated.”
The good options, if there ever were any, are now off the table. Let us pray that President Trump has the wisdom to find the best in an increasingly-bad situation.