US President Donald Trump on August 24 called off a trip to North Korea this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing insufficient progress on the issue of denuclearization. The cancellation came just one day after the trip was announced by Pompeo.
On his Twitter account, Trump also said, "Additionally, because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were."
Obviously, the US is shifting the blame to others.
Washington should bear the main responsibility for the stalemate in talks with North Korea. After the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June, Pyongyang showed sincerity by demolishing its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, dismantling missile facilities and returning the remains of US soldiers killed during the Korean War. However, Washington did not make corresponding moves but kept threatening Pyongyang with unilateral sanctions.
It seems that the White House has found a good excuse. By linking denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula with China's firm countermeasures against the trade war, the White House can not only ease the skepticism within the US about the outcome of the Trump-Kim summit, but also counter the rising criticism of its trade policy. Nonetheless, this reveals that the White House has no sincerity on the issue of denuclearization.
There should be a timetable for denuclearization, but the pace of the schedule should not be controlled by a willful US. Washington must take into account the security demand of Pyongyang.
Whenever a breakthrough on the peninsula issue is almost in sight, there is a setback when the US acts of its own will.
When it needs to show sincerity, the White House displays a positive posture. When real policy changes are needed, it goes back to the starting point of its North Korea policy: pressuring North Korean security, the issue Pyongyang most values. But this time, the White House is trying to make China take the blame.
The mighty military presence of the US in Northeast Asia is to secure its authority. Washington's view of denuclearization derives merely from its own political demands. What Washington worries most about is not whether regional countries can bear the pressure or how their economies or social development will suffer. Rather, Washington only cares about whether it can exploit political gains.
China has been facilitating talks between the US and North Korea. Without China's support, the two could not have been where they are today. China is willing to continue to play this role and lay the foundation for denuclearization. But Washington should realize that it is impossible for China to do what it used to when the US acts peremptorily against China on trade issues.
China will not use denuclearization as a playing card in its relations with the US. Weakening China-US mutual trust inevitably jeopardizes cooperation in other areas.
The White House lacks sincerity to solve the denuclearization issue. Washington is not ready to embrace long-awaited peace on the peninsula. The show staged by the White House reveals the dilemma of its global policies. An overhaul of US politics, economics, trade and security has not made America "great again," only a destroyer.