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Trump, Xi meeting can’t hide gap in their sense of crisis over N. Korea

The Yomiuri Shimbun If the North Korean situation worsens further, chaos will unavoidably spread to China, which shares a border with that country.

Chinese President Xi Jinping must recognize that ratcheting up pressure is a pressing task in working toward halting North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs.

U.S. President Donald Trump met with Xi during his China visit. Trump pressed China to accelerate the implementation of sanctions and other measures, warning, “Time is quickly running out. We must act fast.” Trump also said, “China can fix this problem easily and quickly.”

Xi did not go beyond reiterating China’s position of “strictly implementing” the sanctions resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council and “seeking a solution through dialogue.” It is regrettable that Xi did not clearly put forth a policy for applying increased pressure on Pyongyang.

China’s supply of energy to North Korea is a lifeline for its economy. China has taken such measures as suspending business by North Korean firms operating in the country, but this has not led to a halt of North Korea’s reckless actions.

Implementing U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions is merely an obligation of U.N. member nations. Military tension will only heighten unless China promptly launches its own workable sanctions.

A statement Xi reportedly made during a meeting with Trump that “the Pacific Ocean is vast enough to accommodate both countries” is concerning. The statement reflects his idea that the United States and China should respect their mutual interests and play leading roles in maintaining order in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beware of hegemonic moves

Xi again proposed that idea, which was rejected by former U.S. President Barack Obama. Xi, who cemented his political footing at the recent Communist Party Congress, seems to want Washington to tacitly agree to its moves for hegemony in the region.

Together with Japan and other countries, the United States is called on to continue to state to Beijing the importance of the rule of law and encourage the country to play a constructive role in ensuring stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is also necessary for the U.S. military to increase the frequency of its freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, where China has been building military strongholds in defiance of international law.

By taking advantage of Trump’s official visit to Beijing, U.S. and Chinese businesses reached commercial deals totaling about $250 billion (about ¥28 trillion). It can hardly be said that merely accumulating single, isolated contracts will lead to rectifying the structural trade imbalance, as demanded by Washington.

Xi himself led Trump around the Forbidden City, a World Heritage site, in central Beijing, treating him warmly.

It can be said that China’s extraordinarily warm treatment of Trump, which a high-ranking Chinese official described as “more than for a state visit,” reflects China’s struggle to establish a “friendly relationship of great powers.”

Orchestrating a friendly atmosphere will not cover the differences between Washington and Beijing regarding security and trade.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 10, 2017)Speech



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