North Korea has put the region, and to an extent the world, on edge by continuing its missile tests. Given its status as a nuclear power, this is greatly worrying not just to its closest neighbors, South Korea and Japan, but also the United States. With time there's even a fair chance that the missiles could strike the entire country, save the panhandle of Florid, a clear concern for the USA. But what about the other major power on the block? What does China think of North Korea? Xi Jinping and President Trump spoke about the issue early Wednesday about the matter.
And believe it or not, Xi and China likely agree with the unpredictable American leader. China has for a time now pushed North Korea to fall in line regarding the nuclear issue. After the call, which Trump initiated, the Chinese foreign ministry released a statement reiterating their strategy. "China advocates to resolve the issue through peaceful means, and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the US on the Korean Peninsula issue," the statement read. China also claimed that this latest call did not signal a change of policy on North Korea.
Trump, for his part, acknowledged the call later Wednesday morning with a tweet, writing, "Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea." That would mean that the Chinese leader and Trump largely agreed on what must be done. For better or worse, Trump has not been afraid to call out China in the past. In fact, the phone call came after Trump had written some tweets cajoling China to move on North Korea Tuesday.
In the past, China has been one of North Korea's closest allies. The two, both communist nations, shared a political history and close trading ties. But that all seems to be changing with the belligerent posturing from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. China has even decided to block shipments of coal from the North, a fatal blow to the country's already meager economy.
Ultimately the U.S. and Chinese interests seem to be aligned, that North Korea not attack any of its neighbors — or the United States. Beyond that, though, there is one key difference. Trump and Tillerson have spoken of leaving all options on the table — including military intervention. That is clearly something that the Chinese don't want. They keep stressing peace and "peaceful means" in their communications on the issue.
Having the United States attack a neighboring country could never be a good thing for China. Now Xi will likely try to convince Trump the same thing. Either way, North Korea must feel a little bit more alone in the region with China being standoffish. Hopefully that pushes them to peace and not aggression.