Chinese state media heaped praised on North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un in a column Sunday, declaring that the 35-year-old communist dictator has “deftly dominated” the U.S. while “calling the shots and setting the agenda at every turn.”
In an op-ed in the Chinese propaganda outlet Global Times on Sunday, author Robert A. Manning also mocked the U.S. negotiating team, describing them as “passive, reactive, and clumsy,” before complaining that China and other nations have been sidelined in the talks.
“Pyongyang has deftly dominated nuclear diplomacy, calling the shots and setting the agenda at every turn, and seeming to play Kim’s relationship with Trump against Pompeo and its Korea policy team,” the article reads. “The U.S. has been passive, reactive and clumsy, making unrealistic demands.”
“Any nuclear deal requires cooperation from the other frontline states – China, Russia, and Japan,” it continues. “Talks on a peace treaty would need to include the US, China, South, and North Korea, and with regard to economic benefits, China, Russia, and Japan would all have key roles to play. But the US has made no effort to initiate a multilateral mechanism to coordinate diplomacy.”
The piece goes on to mock the “vague commitments” made by both sides at various peace summits, saying that a diplomatic path forward remains a “mystery.”
“Despite all the rhetoric of peace and a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, how to turn vague commitments of denuclearization into a phased, diplomatic process where each side bargains and negotiates reciprocal steps remains a mystery,” it reads. “That the US was willing to discuss ‘declaration-for-declaration,’ and similarly, has said there is no rushed timeline to achieve denuclearization, suggests Washington is now prepared to negotiate.”
Chinese state media has repeatedly bemoaned its lack of involvement in the talks, having previously pushed for the role of a “guarantor” during the negotiations.
Following a meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in June, state media also dismissed a joint commitment to denuclearize the North Korean peninsula and begin a new era of peace as merely “a vague four-point joint statement with no timetable or roadmap.”
State media has previously praised North Korea’s “restraint, rationality, and sincerity” in its dealings with Washington in contrast to the “White House’s obsession with its hard-line approach.”
China remains a major player in any peace deal with North Korea, having been identified by the Trump administration as the key to unlocking compromise from Pyongyang due to its economic dependency on Beijing.
However, China has continued to undermine the U.S. in its efforts to secure a comprehensive peace agreement, as it aggressively increases trade and economic ties in violation of sanctions agreed by the United Nations Security Council against the rogue communist state.