Jim Watson / AFP – Getty Images
China did appear to move on North Korea in February when it banned all coal imports from the country. But analysts say the regional giant is reluctant to squeeze its neighbor too hard.
“The Chinese are not going to do what Trump thought China would do,” Tsang at SOAS said. “I do not think for one second that Mr. Xi had any intention of reining in North Korea.”
Theories as to why this is differ. Some say
Beijing is fearful of a war on its doorstep, principally because it might spark an influx of North Korean refugees and place U.S. troops closer to its border.
Others, such as Tsang, reject this. He thinks that China does not want to see North Korea’s communist regime fall because, as its supporter, its failure would undermine the domestic legitimacy of the Communist Party of China.
In response to Trump’s tweets, the Chinese foreign ministry said Wednesday that it wanted to solve the issue with a “peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation.”
Perhaps in reference to Trump’s outspoken style, it added: “We hope all relevant parties can stay calm and exercise restraint, refrain from words and deeds that may heighten tensions.”
For now, all eyes will be on Trump and Xi’s meeting at the G-20.
Although the pair may cover many issues, Gao said: “I think DPRK will be on the top of the list,” using North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.