Beijing Drops The Hammer On Its Nuclear Neighbor As Trump Cracks Down On Trade With China


China announced Monday that it will sever a number of North Korea’s economic lifelines, finally increasing pressure on the aggressive North Korean regime.

To comply with the latest United Nations sanctions on North Korea, China is restricting imports of coal, iron, iron ore, and lead from North Korea, accordingto The Washington Post. The North has been engaging in highly-provocative behavior lately, testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and other weapons systems in violation of international restrictions and making disconcerting threats against the U.S. and its allies.

The new import ban comes as President Donald Trump prepares to investigate questionable Chinese trading practices, the latest in a series of attacks on Chinese strategic interests as the president grows frustrated with China’s inaction with regard to North Korea. China is concerned that the president’s plan may start a trade war.

The president will sign a memorandum Monday instructing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to investigate China’s intellectual property practices, specifically the theft of U.S. intellectual property. Depending on the results of the Section 301 investigation, Trump could decide to impose punitive sanctions, tariffs, and trade restrictions on China.

Trump railed against China on his campaign trail, threatening to punish China for its trade practices, which put America at a disadvantage. When the president met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April, Trump promised China better trade deals if they helped resolve the North Korea problem. As China failed to act, the president grew increasingly frustrated, switching from the carrot to stick and putting bilateral trade in the crosshairs.

China is warning Trump not to “poison” the U.S.-China relationship.

“There is no future and no winner in a trade war and both sides will be the losers,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Monday. “As we have emphasized for many times, the nature of China-U.S. trade relations is mutual benefit and win-win.”

“Considering the importance of the China-U.S. relations, China is willing to make joint efforts with the United States to keep trade and economic relations on sustained, healthy and stable development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” the Ministry added.

“Given Trump’s transactional approach to foreign affairs,” the state-run China Daily wrote in response to the president’s trade plans, “it is impossible to look at the matter without taking into account his increasing disappointment at what he deems as China’s failure to bring into line the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

“But, instead of advancing the United States’ interests, politicizing trade will only exacerbate the country’s economic woes, and poison the overall China-U.S. relationship,” Chinese state media reported.

China faces a challenge with North Korea, which serves as both a liability and a strategic asset.

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