WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump accused China of doing “nothing” to help the United States in its dispute with North Korea, adding that “we will not allow this to continue.”
Trump’s remarks were in a pair Twitter statements late on July 29 and came a day after Pyongyang carried out a test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that it said was capable of reaching the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons.
In a show of force a few hours after Trump’s comments, the U.S Air Force said on July 30 that two of its B-1B bombers had flown over the Korean Peninsula in response to North’s ICBM test.
The bombers took off from a U.S. air base in Guam, the military said, and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets in a 10-hour mission, practicing intercept and formation drills.
In his Twitter comments, Trump also criticized former U.S. administrations for allowing China to make billions of dollars in trade deals despite Beijing’s lack of support.
“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!’ he wrote.
In 2016, the United States had a trade deficit of $309 billion with China.
Trump and other world leaders have consistently called on China to put pressure on ally North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, which have been banned by United Nations resolutions.
China's Foreign Ministry on July 29 said it opposed the North's "launch activities" as they run counter to UN resolutions and were against "the common wishes of the international community."
"At the same time, China hopes all parties act with caution, to prevent tensions from continuing to escalate, to jointly protect regional peace and stability," it added.
Trump in the past has sent out mixed signals about his relations with China.
During his presidential campaign, he assailed Beijing for what he called unfair trade practices and accused the country of currency manipulation.
But after taking office, the U.S. president praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying in April that “the relationship developed by President Xi and myself, I think, is outstanding.”
South Korean officials on July 29 said Pyongyang’s latest ICBM test has led Seoul to move faster on deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system, which China vehemently opposes.
And the U.S. Army said American and South Korean military forces conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to-surface missiles and dicussed "military response options" following the ICBM launch.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the latest test "is meant to send a grave warning to the U.S. (and) make the policymakers of the U.S. properly understand that the U.S., an aggression-minded state, would not go scot-free if it dares provoke" Pyongyang.