Is China Behind North Korea’s Sudden Change Of Tune? Trump Seems To Think So

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

North Korea changed its tune this week and lashed out at the U.S., and President Donald Trump seems to suspect that China is calling the shots to get a better deal on trade.

“I think that things have changed a little bit when they met with China,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “They met a second time, as you know — Kim Jong Un had a second meeting with China, which was a little bit of a surprise meeting.”

“I have a feeling, however, that for various reasons, maybe including trade, because they’ve never had this problem before, China has never had this problem with us, he could very well be that he’s influencing Kim Jong Un,” the president added, explaining that he was referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un first met Xi in late March on a surprise visit to Beijing. That meeting was followed by a landmark inter-Korean summit, as well as meetings between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim in preparation for the upcoming Trump-Kim summit.

Kim made another trip to China last week, an unexpected trip to Dalian. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Visits China … Again)

North Korea has been talking about peace for several months now. However, Pyongyang suddenly suspended talks with South Korea indefinitely and threatened the future of the Trump-Kim summit in a series of state media reports released this week.

North Korea criticized U.S.-South Korean joint military drills, as well as certain comments made by Trump administration officials, including the president. Pyongyang slammed Trump for claiming that his maximum pressure strategy brought a weakened North Korea to the table, Pompeo for offering to save North Korea from economic despair, and White House national security adviser John Bolton for insisting the U.S. had the “Libya model” in mind for North Korean denuclearization.

Pyongyang’s rhetoric seems to suggest that it is frustrated by the administration’s approach, which treats North Korea as a weak, defeated state, rather than a nuclear power, which is how they see themselves.

Yet, Trump apparently suspects there may be other factors involved.

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