Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope that the North Korean nuclear crisis can be averted. It appears the one country that can forestall a major catastrophe is warming to participation in a lasting solution.
Chinese President Xi Jinping offered gratuitous words for U.S. President Donald Trump last Saturday. He called him a friend and expressed great hopes for Trump’s visit to China in November calling it “wonderful.”
Words like that are scrutinized heavily by American diplomats. The Chinese culture is very subtle in their approach to events such as a presidential visit. Key words can be very important for their subliminal message.
China’s relationship with the United States has been strained to the breaking point by the Trump administration’s criticism of Chinese trade practices. Adding to that has been demands that Beijing do more to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons and missiles programs.
Xi and Trump met before at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last April. The verbose U.S. president has developed a personal relationship with the Chinese president with his customary soft touch with a big stick close at hand.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been the front man for the trip in November. At Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi said, in the secretary of state’s presence, that he had enjoyed his meetings with Trump and the two had made considerable efforts to push the development of China-US relations.
He went on to say, “I believe that President Trump’s upcoming visit to China means an important opportunity for the further development of China-U.S. relations. And I believe his visit will be a special, wonderful and successful one.”
It is imperative that the two countries come to a meeting of the minds on North Korea. The U.S. does not wish to risk a war that could cost millions of lives, including 37,000 U.S. servicemen in South Korea. China knows its trade with the U.S. is crucial to their economy and its place in the world order. It knows war on its own border would be disastrous.
Xi is cognizant that both countries must respect each other’s core interests and important concerns. Dialog is vital on this sensitive issue.
Trump’s first Asian trip will take him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. North Korea will be the number one topic on the official agenda.
Predictably there was no mention of North Korea in comments made in front of journalists at any of Tillerson’s meetings. They were attended by upper luminaries such as top diplomat State Counselor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The Chinese only mentioned that the high ranking diplomats exchanged views on the situation on the Korean peninsula.