China Downplays Influence Over North Korea, Says Tensions are a “Dispute” Between Washington and Pyongyang

By: Zack Duvall

China’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Geng Shuang, told reporters during a daily press conference Friday, when asked about recent comments by President Trump regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula, that “the crux of the North Korean nuclear issue is a problem between the United States and North Korea.”

Shuang’s comments come after an interview President Trump did with Reuters, during which he again reiterated the fact that he believes China could solve the North Korean security threat “very easily if they wanted to.”

Chinese officials and state media outlets have maintained while China maintains a close working partnership Pyongyang, they adamantly oppose North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and reports of China’s influence over North Korea have been grossly exaggerated.

Shuang went on to point out that China has repeatedly called for the stabilization of the Korean peninsula, and for the continuation of negotiations between world powers and North Korea on the issue.

He also cited the fact that China announced Saturday that it was putting a ban of all North Korean coal imports in place. The ban went into effect Sunday.

The import ban came as a shock to many analysts familiar with the political relationship between the two countries and news of the ban came without an official statement from Chinese officials at the time.

The ban, a major blow to Pyongyang’s revenue and funding for military and weapons programs, has garnered rare backlash from North Korean state media towards the Chinese government. North Korean state media published written commentary about the recent import ban in which they said Chinese leaders were “dancing to the tune” of the United States and its allies.

However, in even in light of the recent attacks from the North Korean media and pressure from the west, particularly the United States, Shuang said China would again reiterate its stance on the current tensions between the U.S. and North Korea specifically being a “dispute” between Washington and Pyongyang.

“We hope the relevant parties can shoulder the responsibilities, play the roles they should, and together with China play a constructive role for peace and stability.”

When pressed about whether or not the recent aggression from Pyongyang and North Korean state media would impact the working relationship between the two nation, Shuang downplayed concerns and speculation.

“We are willing to work with North Korea to promote the stable and healthy development of relations.”



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