China Claims Trump Trade Threat ‘Unfair’ Given ‘Arduous Efforts’ to Resolve North Korea Crisis

China has lodged a protest at the North Korean embassy in Beijing

China has responded to President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off trade with countries that deal with North Korea as “unfair,” while claiming they are making “arduous efforts” to de-escalate tensions in the region.

Trump’s threat came hours after North Korea claimed it had conducted its sixth test of an immensely powerful hydrogen bomb, describing it as a “perfect success.”

“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” he wrote on Twitter:

Although North Korea trades with multiple nations including Russia and India, the claim was interpreted as a veiled threat against China, whose economy heavily relies on trade with the United States.

Responding to Trump’s threat, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said such a move would not be justified as China is making “arduous efforts to peacefully resolve” the issue.

“What we absolutely cannot accept is that on the one hand (we are) making arduous efforts to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, and on the other hand (our) interests are being sanctioned or harmed,” Shuang said.

Meanwhile, an article in the state-run English language newspaper Global Times argued that China was the “main external victim” of the North Korean nuclear crisis, warning that “Washington needs to accept the fact that it does not hold absolute authority over the world”:

 It would be of no help if Washington and Seoul claim that China should take the major responsibility to prevent North Korea from conducting nuclear and missile activities and impose pressure on Beijing in an unfriendly manner.

The origin of the North Korean nuclear crisis is the long-term animosity between the US-South Korea alliance and North Korea. China has been making serious efforts to solve the conundrum. If Washington and Seoul cannot solve the crisis and instead place China at the forefront of this situation, they will only mess up the peninsula issue.

Washington needs to accept the fact that it does not hold absolute authority over the world. North Korea, despite its weak strength, could confront the US for reasons America does not understand. Flexing muscles will not intimidate Pyongyang. Washington needs patience to untie the deadlock.

Other countries, including Egypt, Australia, and Germany, have also expressed concern over any potential trade war, while Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that “any clumsy step” could lead to an “explosion” and called for a diplomatic solution and “those who are stronger to show restraint.”

However, Trump has previously asserted that China could “easily solve the problem” and contended that they had done “nothing” to help appease the situation.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem”:

So far, the only sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have been on small Chinese banks dealing with Pyongyang, as well as “shell” companies with links to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

In a White House press conference on Sunday, Secretary of Defense General James Mattis warned that continued North Korean aggression would be met with a “massive military response” that would be “both effective and overwhelming.”

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But we have many options to do so,” he said.

You can follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at


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