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China furious with Trump over threat to end trade over North Korea dispute

Into the fray, Switzerland has offered to be a neutral mediator in talks between North Korea and the United States.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reacted with anger to a threat made by Donald Trump on Twitter that he is considering cutting off trade with all nations which do any level of business with North Korea.

This confirms what I wrote yesterday, criticising Trump’s ill-conceived threat:

“Apart from the par for the course insults to China and threats of military action, the most strange Tweet was the one in which the US President threatened to cease trading with any country doing business with North Korea.

While North Korea conducts little business with the outside world by contemporary standards, a great number of nations do in fact conduct legal business with the DPRK on a frequent basis. This includes many US allies.

North Korea’s most prominent import partners include:

1. China

2. India

3. Russia

4. Thailand

5. Philippines

North Korea’s most sizeable export partners include:

1. China

2. India

3. Pakistan

4. Burkina Faso

Other countries with business relations with North Korea include but are not limited to: Egypt, Sweden, France, Peru, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Ukraine, Syria, South Africa, Ecuador, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Poland, the EU as a whole (including Britain) and many others.

As things stand, were the United States to stop trading with the aforementioned countries, the US would be ceasing trade with some of the most prominent economies in the world.

Clearly, the idea is for America to effectively bully other nations into ceasing their business dealings with North Korea in order to preserve their import and export relations with the US government and US business.

Such a tactic is not only unwise but it is patently aggressive and largely unrealistic. While the UN Security Council has spoken in a unified voice on sanctions, Russia and China have both come out in opposition to further unilateral sanctions passed by the United States.

Russia has likewise repeatedly stated that attempting to starve North Korea into submission is an American plan that Russia would never endorse. The same applies to China.

If Trump were however to instruct the US Treasury Department to try and implement such a threat, America would effectively be using sovereign economic blackmail to ideally (from Trump’s perspective) starve North Korea or otherwise to punish countries which do  business North Korea, something which depending on which countries wouldn’t respond to the blackmail, could possibly destroy the US economy in respect of both imports and exports. This is especially true when one considers that countries with powerful economies like China do not respond well to blackmail and are economically diverse enough not to require total reliance on any one country, no matter how large.

Furthermore, in ‘starving’ North Korea, it would be less of a starvation into submission than a starvation into a desperate state where using nuclear weapons would ultimately be more likely in respect of Pyongyang.

While Trump’s statement is technically unofficial, it does speak to the important differences between geo-politics and domestic business ventures. The great economies of the world aren’t a cement company from New York…some of them even have nuclear weapons, including the countries that do the highest levels of business with North Korea”.

Today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Geng Shuang stated,

“What is definitely unacceptable to us is that on the one hand we work so hard to peacefully resolve this issue and on the other hand our interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardised. This is unfair”.

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange further stated that Trump’s threat is not only untenable but one which the US so-called ‘deep state’ would never allow as it would be incredibly damaging to the US economy. He also, shared an article detailing China’s plans to allow countries to trade oil in Yuan which would be convertible to gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong gold exchanges, thus allowing nations under US sanctions to side-step the US Dollar.

Assange further highlighted the fact that North Korea’s nuclear programme is not one designed for aggressive conflict but one which serves as a deterrent. He cited figures relating to the US destruction of North Korea during the 1950s as well as the examples of America targeting and destroying countries which do not possess such a deterrent.

 

Donald Trump has exhausted China’s good will over the issue, so much so that a third party has now offered to intervene over the Korean issue.

The Swiss President has offered to act as a mediator in the dispute between the United States and North Korea. Hours after the United States threatened military action, including the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, President Doris Leuthard of Switzerland stated,

“We are ready to offer our role …as a mediator. It is really time now to sit down at a table. Big powers have a responsibility”.

She called on the US, North Korea and China to help Switzerland to promote peace talks which might settle the situation for the foreseeable future.

Switzerland’s history of declared neutrality on all geo-political affairs places the country in a unique position to calm tensions between rival powers. There is possibly even a further connection Switzerland has to the situation as it has been rumoured that Kim Jong-Un once attended an international school in Switzerland during his youth.

With Washington alienating Beijing, it is becoming increasingly clear that a party far removed from the Korean issue may have to help initiate the process of dialogue between Kim Jong-Un’s government and Donald Trump’s government, one that Russia and China have both called for in their ‘double-freeze’ peace plan which both Moscow and Beijing continue to push for.

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