An editorial published Thursday in the Global Times, a publication under the aegis of the Communist Party of China's People's Daily paper, asserted that Trump's recent shift toward blaming China for the lack of progress in convincing the North Korean government to denuclearize at a pace acceptable to Washington was due to his anxieties about the upcoming midterm elections in November, which could see the balance of power in the US Congress shift away from Trump's Republican Party.
On Wednesday, the US president issued a statement through a series of Twitter posts in which he said, "we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!" It was only the latest in a series of accusations that China is not working in tandem with the US on the question of North Korea out of bitterness over the growing number of tariffs on Chinese imports imposed by Trump in recent months.
"China is the route to North Korea," Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House. "Ninety-three percent of the product and various things are going to North Korea go in through China, so I think that now that we are in somewhat — I don't like to call it a trade war… but China's having a very, very tough time. And I think that China makes it much more difficult in terms of our relationship with North Korea."
"The US shouldn't willfully shift the blame on China," the Global Times wrote. "The White House has directly or indirectly accused China of hindering the denuclearization of the peninsula several times. Whenever US-North Korea relations go smoothly, the US thinks it is Washington's credit. Whenever the situation goes to south, it's China's fault."
"If that's how Washington judges China's role in solving the North Korea nuclear issue, what's the point of China continuing with cooperation?"
Instead, the paper suggested, Washington politicians should scrutinize the soundness of their own policies and take ownership of the fact that they might be gambling.
"Washington's politicians should ask themselves: Are they confident about US North Korea policy?" the paper asked. "If the answer is yes, the US should not blame everyone but itself when the policy encounters a few bumps on the road, as if everyone else is opposing the US. If Washington is aware that its own plans for the peninsula are delicate, it should not frame others for the diplomatic fallout."
When announcing on August 24 the cancellation of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned visit to North Korea, Trump tweeted that "because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were (despite the UN Sanctions which are in place)."
The Global Times answered this accusation as well, noting that "China is more than willing to push forward with denuclearization of the peninsula" due to its geographic proximity to North Korea and its testing facilities. "No one wants the peninsula to return to a state of confrontation."
Instead, the Global Times suggested fair play by both sides "to ease Washington's unwarranted anxieties."
"Beijing and Washington should both make a rule in their trade war: Neither should resort to other means to secure a victory, and neither should suspect the other of doing so."