In a flurry of Twitter statements this morning, President Trump once again appeared to be threatening unilateral US action against North Korea, accusing the reclusive nation of “looking for trouble,” declaring that the US will “solve the problem” with or without Chinese help.
China, of course, proposed a joint deescalation effort between the US and North Korea as a way to convince Pyongyang to give up their nuclear program not long ago. But the US immediately rejected that suggestion, and has repeatedly attacked the idea of further diplomacy.
President Trump has continued to play up the idea that China could quickly and easily “solve” North Korea by themselves if they wanted to, and insisted in further comments today that the US was willing to give China a better trade deal if they did so.
It’s not nearly so clear, however, that China has as much clout with North Korea as they are believed by the administration to. North Korea has clearly taking multiple actions that have inconvenienced China in recent years, and China has shown little ability to rein them in beyond a very basic level.