- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2017


President Trump’s April 6 Tomahawk attack on Syria had more impact on China than on Russia.

Syrian President Bashir Assad has continued his air attacks on his own civilians and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin continues to back Mr. Assad. Russia voted against the U.S. resolution involving Syria at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday; communist China didn’t follow usual procedure and instead refrained from voting against the U.S.

And here’s the really funny thing that happened a day after the strike that Mr. Trump ordered while hosting a shocked President Xi Jinping. (Mr. Xi, as you’ll recall, presides over an economy second in wealth only the one Mr. Trump is elected to lead.)

A communist Chinese military news service reported that The Global Times, a Chinese communist party-run newspaper, told North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to put the kibosh on his nuclear weapons buildup or else.

China too can no longer stand the continuous escalation of the North Korean nuclear issue at its doorstep,” it said. “Instead of accepting a situation that continues to worsen, putting an end to this is more in line with the wish of the Chinese public.”

Now here’s where the language gets really tough and menacing.

China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs, that is, the security and stability of northeast China,” the Chinese communist newspaper said. “If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back.”

“By that time, it is not an issue of discussion whether China acquiesces in the US blows, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own.”

The DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a long name that is inaccurate in all ways but geography.

Mr. Trump had earlier said if Mr. Xi didn’t slap some sense into Mr. Kim over his infatuation with nukes, Mr. Trump and the U.S. Air Force would take care of business itself.

Communist China has just taken other steps to get the message across to its client state. Unlike China, which has roaringly successful private-enterprise and profit-motivated economic systems operating with a one-party authoritarian political system, North Korea is all socialism all the time and dirt poor, with coal as its most lucrative export. China is its biggest coal customer. Or was.

Sick and tired of Mr. Kim’s nuclear testing disrupting and endangering the lives of China’s citizens just across the border from North Korea’s test sites, Mr. Xi’s government banned all imports of coal from Mr. Kim’s land.

On April 10, Reuters reported that “China’s customs department has issued an official order telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes.”

The report said a communist Chinese trading company “had 600,000 tons of North Korean coal sitting at various ports, and a total of 2 million tons was stranded at various Chinese ports, waiting to be returned.”

It’s not that Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago surprise for Mr. Xi suddenly gave the Beijing government a case of nuclearphobia when it comes to North Korea; Beijing has been leaning on Mr. Kim to stop with the nuclear testing and missile launching for some time.

The stunning military action by the real-estate developer/TV star turned president Trump made it OK for Beijing to threaten bombing the living daylights out of Mr. Kim’s nukedom if he didn’t dismantle it pronto. Daylight, by the way, is pretty much the only light the electricity-poor inhabitants of Kimland have.

• Ralph Z. Hallow, chief political writer at The Washington Times, has covered Washington since 1982.

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