WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Thursday on Twitter that this week’s test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile shows that Chinese efforts to restrain Pyongyang are having little effect.
Trump referred to a recent trip to Pyongyang by Song Tao, a senior diplomat and head of the Chinese Communist Party’s external affairs department.
“The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote, using his derogatory nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.”
Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported that Song’s trip to North Korea was for the purpose of briefing counterparts on the outcome of the recent 19th congress of China’s Communist Party.
US military officials say the missile tested on Wednesday by North Korea has the range to deliver a nuclear warhead to Washington or New York.
North Korean state media released Thursday a brief video and 42 still images of the test launch, which was overseen by a smiling Kim Jong-un.
Russia called the test a “provocation,” and China expressed “deep concern,” urging North Korea to avoid actions that could further increase tension on the peninsula and to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.
As veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia will have a major say in determining what position the United Nations takes toward Pyongyang.
Speaking Thursday from Belarus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow opposed the imposition of additional sanctions on North Korea.
Beijing, meanwhile, has had no comment on a statement by the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to cut off the supply of oil to North Korea.