This time, US President-elect Donald Trump
decided to point his finger at two countries - China and North Korea. In one of his tweets on Monday, he wrote, "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US. It won't happen!" Later he added another, "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the US in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!"
Trump's tweets reflect his twisted view of North Korea's nuclear issue which holds that China is to blame for North Korea's reluctance to give up its nuclear ambitions; as long as Beijing offers no aid to Pyongyang, the latter will abandon its nuclear program sooner or later.
The US and South Korea have selfish motives as well - if North Korea starts a feud with China, the two will bear the brunt of the chaos in the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons comes as the result of military pressure from Washington and Seoul and their likely overthrow of Pyongyang's regime. If the US and South Korea do not end the Cold-War state in the peninsula and provide enough sense of security for the North, instead simply escalating tensions in the region, how could China play the leading role in this game?
China is the mediator in the current deadlock of the North Korean nuclear issue, but the job is increasingly difficult. North Korea and the US and South Korea hope China will stand on their side regardless of its own national interests, while China has the least interest in doing so.
China firmly opposes North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons. When North Korea violated the resolutions of the UN Security Council, China imposed sanctions. But the sanctions are aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development capabilities rather than creating a humanitarian crisis or overthrowing its regime.
China does not want to see a chaotic Korean Peninsula mired in war. It will not be able to prevent the outbreak of conflicts, and every stakeholder is bound to suffer. But China is surely not the biggest victim. China should try its best, but once the worst-case scenario happens, China should just adapt to the changing landscape.
As for what political landscape will shape the peninsula after a crisis, China must be able to have a say. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese volunteer soldiers sacrificed their lives during the Korean War (1950-53). No North Korean regime which is hostile to China or that allies with other major powers should be allowed.
It seems that Trump is just fixated on trade, and he believes that China's rise should be attributed to the US opening up its market to China. Actually when China experienced prosperity last time, the land of the US remained barren. May the arrogant Americans realize that the United States of America is perhaps just a shooting star in the ample sky of history.
Trump should not try to boss China around as he did with Japan and South Korea. George W. Bush meddled in Middle Eastern affairs and we have seen his foreign policy failures. If Trump really wants, he could try his luck in East Asia, another hotspot.