A week after U.S. president Donald Trump called off a planned June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, the meeting appears to be back on again, with Trump scheduled to discuss it with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on June 7.
Amid all this back and forth many are asking what China — North Korea’s staunchest ally — hopes will happen next. Chinese Communist Party officials have been silent in recent days but the Global Times, China’s nationalistic and sometimes belligerent tabloid paper, isn’t holding back.
Trump’s “capricious” decision to cancel the summit and “reckless backtracking” is damaging the U.S.’s image worldwide, according to a May 28 editorial. The U.S. president acted in order to counter the impression he was being “hoodwinked” by North Korea, it said, but the uncertainty could “jeopardize the U.S.’ credibility in the global community” and make Trump “lose faith among his people, which will be disastrous.” Sounds a bit more like a public relations campaign by the Chinese tabloid media because controlling the global narrative only ads to their power plays.
The Global Times is not the official paper of the Communist Party — that title belongs to the People’s Daily — so its words are not to be taken as a direct surrogate of Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, it is owned and published by the People’s Daily, and run by a former army officer and current Communist Party member. “The Global Times often reflects what party officials are actually thinking, but can’t come out and say,” as their editor-in-chief explained during an interview with Quartz.
Another recent editorial in the Global Times takes a less combative, but still critical, tone.
Maximum pressure is becoming the trump card of Trump’s team. It may help the White House make some breakthroughs in difficult negotiations, but won’t help it gain any substantial result it wants. Negotiations are aimed at looking for consensus, not one side conquering another.”
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