Trump Succeeds in Having China Pressure North Korea Harder

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a performance given with splendor at the People's Theatre on Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State Merited Chorus in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on February 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a performance given with splendor at the People’s Theatre on Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State Merited Chorus in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on February 23, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS

In the above photo, Kim did not smile with a light heart perhaps due to China’s reduction of coal import from his country.

Reuters says in its report “Trump wants to make sure U.S. nuclear arsenal at ‘top of the pack’” yesterday that in an interview with Reuters, US President Donald Trump says that Beijing may rein in Pyongyang “very easily if they want to”.

I said in my post “The Conundrum of China-North Korea Relations 2” on February 21, “China does not want to punish North Korea too hard for fear of the collapse of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un regime” as it “may give rise to flood of hundreds of thousands North Korean refugees into China” or US and South Korea’s annexation of North Korea and thus depriving China of a buffer that separates the two from China.

Now by banning import of coal from North Korea, China has really pressured North Korea hard in accordance with Trump’s demand.

Judging by North Korea’s angry response, the ban really hurts. Reuters says in its another report titled “North Korea raps old ally China after China’s ban on coal” yesterday, “The North’s state-run KCNA news agency did not refer directly to China by name but in an unmistakable censure it accused a ‘neighboring country’ of going along with North Korea’s enemies to ‘bring down its social system’.

“‘This country, styling itself a big power, is dancing to the tune of the U.S. while defending its mean behavior with such excuses that it was meant not to have a negative impact on the living of the people in the DPRK but to check its nuclear program,’ KCNA said in a commentary.”

North Korea is shrewd in describing China as a big power losing face in obeying US demand, but Chinese leaders simply do not care because they are wise honest leaders. They do not mind losing face as long as their nation is much benefited in losing face.

They let the US take the lead in the dance as long as China and the US cooperate well in dancing to US tune that greatly benefit China. They know win-win cooperation with the US is too important for China’s economic prosperity and national security.

The reduction in coal import from North Korea does not hurt China as China has much excessive coal production capacity to cover the loss of import. North Korea will suffer losses less than US2 billion in lost coal export, but if China provides it with loan for paying import of food and other daily necessities from China, North Korean people will not suffer and North Korea’s political stability will not be affected. Only, Kim Jong-un will have less money for nuclear and missile development, which is good for not only the US but also China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at and


3 Comments on “Trump Succeeds in Having China Pressure North Korea Harder”

  1. Fugu says:


    “US President Donald Trump says that Beijing may rein in Pyongyang “very easily if they want to”.”

    Yes, to what purpose?

    Why would Beijing want to rein in Pyongyang? Just because he says so?

    Well, if he says so, it must be because he wants peace on the peninsular. No?

    If not a “no” but maybe a “yes”, then let’s talk a peace treaty AND/OR a reunification process between North and South Korea. Let’s talk about you, U.S. withdrawing from South Korea?

    Why haven’t you done so when Beijing has removed its troops from North Korea? What kind of a armistice quid pro quo has it been when you Americans failed to honour your unspoken part to remove yourself from South Korea?

    North Korea is not a colonial vassal of China. Why are you still there in South Korea? Why do you insist on being there?

    It is obvious to all and sundry that your America, Mr Trump, is in South Korea after the Japanese surrender to render her your colony; AGAINST the wishes of the Korean people. What Kim Il Sung did was to fight to free Korea from a colonial status transferred from one defeated master to another. The Koreans fought for a long time and heroically against the barbarous Japanese colonial regime.

    So, to paraphrase the original question, “What does Beijing gain from listening to you or your predecessors to pressure Pyongyang, Mr Trump?”

    Rest assure if Beijing does so, it is not in response to a colonial U.S. but strictly in relation to Pyongyang’s acts which has ramifications for China. In other words, the continued defiant and unempathetic continued act of testing ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads, and the assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s half brother Kim Jong-Nam – likely on dynastic Pyongyang’s orders – is not in China’s interest.

    Since Kim Jong-Un is unable to consider its neighbor and supporter, Beijing, he needs to be taken down a couple of notches to get him to grow up and see sense. North and South Korea are nothing. If China, Russia and the U.S. decide to play hardball anytime, the regimes in Pyongyang and Seoul is gone. Easily. Overnight. They exist at the pleasure of Washington and Beijing.

    So Mr Kim Jong-Un must learn now, not to bite the hands that literally feeds his countrymen. He and North Korea, like South Korea are but pawns in a bigger power game. A country with only about 23 million people is not exactly a power that can keep off the big powers. There are bigger issues at play here between Beijing and Washington than a small country trying to roar like a lion.

    So grow up Mr Kim and learn to seek Beijing’s approval in most of your foreign policy matters f you want a long reign. As it is, your own people are already muttering uprisings against you.


  2. Steve says:

    Kim Jong Un is just a puppet supported by his own military. No big deal to China, just sell them more food and keep the military happy. According to the US reports, President Trump has so far gained nothing form China, it’s China holding the Trump cards. The reason for Trump’s late phone call is because President Xi refused to answer unless Trump recognises the One China Policy. As soon as Trump became President he dumped the TPP and handed the Pacific Rim economy to China. The Pacific Rim accounts for 36% of world trade. Trump could have at least given it a try before Trump Dumb Dump of the TPP, which is the only agreement to contain and confront China’s powerful influence. The US under King Scoundrel Trump has gained nothing.


  3. Simon says:

    What is Trump giving China in return for pressuring North Korea?
    One China Policy over Taiwan is not for bargaining. In economic front any any trade sanction against China will be met with reprisal that will hurt America too. China will want from America is it scaling back its military provocation in SCS. The recent FONOP by America did not appear to enter 12nm zone around Chinese islands. It could also be because China is unhappy about the assasination of Kim Jong Nam who China had backed for leadership. His killing is sought to deligitimise his son Kim Han Sol as future leader of N Korea after Kim Jong Nam.
    This could also be an engineered public quarrel between the two allies to show Trump that China is doing something about N Korea and make it easier for Trump to not impose any economic sanction on China which he found out is difficult to do anyway. It is even concievable Trump is part of this theatre with China and N Korea because it allows him to appear strong and not having to honour election pledges against China. Xi also appear strong because Trump has to lose face over Taiwan support and unable to stop China in SCS. Meanwhile N Korea still export coal to China while both country publicly say they are stopped, and China gave N Korea a new nuclear capable missile as deterrant against America and its allies.