China's Imports from N. Korea Drop 32% in May

China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis during this week's talks. The US administration is undoubtedly up in arms over the recent death of American Otto Warmbier following his incarceration in a North Korean prison, but this looks and feels like a public shaming and must count as one of the most controversial exchanges between a US President and his counterpart in China.

North Korea last tested a nuclear bomb in September, but it has conducted repeated missile tests since and vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland, putting it at the forefront of Trump's security worries.

The death of American student Otto Warmbier, who passed away last week after being released from 17 months of detention in Pyongyang for stealing a propaganda poster, further complicated the American president's attitude towards that communist state. Trump indicated to Xi Jinping at their Mar-El-Lago summit in early April that he wanted progress on North Korea within one hundred days so there could be some aggressive moves by the USA administration, including sanctions on Chinese firms, by mid-July. "And obviously, we hope that those discussions with China are productive and continue to move us forward", he said.

The Rodong Sinmum commentary suggests that the USA government is suffering from its own crisis, which could include "the impeachment of Trump", and that the president is now considering launching a preemptive strike against North Korea because of his "tough situation" at home.

Mattis cited that the dialogue also touched upon the resolution of maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

For the most part, China has not done this.

According to data released online by China's General Administration of Customs on Saturday, imports from North Korea stood at 124 million dollars in May, down 31-point-six percent from the same period past year.

"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out".

"If the United States finds that any of the Chinese companies have violated the United Nations resolution, it should point out the wrongdoings so that China can take the necessary measures to punish these companies", Lu said, adding that a gap in perceptions over the objectives of economic sanctions could lead to disappointment for the US. Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after Warmbier died following his return from captivity in a coma.

The talks followed what a US official said on Tuesday were new movements detected by USA spy satellites at North Korea's nuclear test site. The Chinese state media announced the progress of dialogue between Beijing and Washington.

Trump's administration is considering a ban on Americans visiting North Korea.

The Diplomatic Security Dialogue was the first session of discussions agreed on in April during a summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

  • Zachary Reyes