Trump to China: Thanks for Trying with North Korea
Albanian Daily News
Published June 21, 2017
For months, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and top aides have staked any progress dealing with North Korea's burgeoning nuclear program on China's involvement.
On Tuesday, Trump upended much of that work in 140 characters, tweeting that Chinese efforts have "not.
"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried," Trump wrote.
The tweet, which came hours before the United States and China were set to meet in Washington to talk about North Korea, caught multiple Trump administration officials off guard, leaving them scrambling as they tried to figure out what exactly the President meant.
One Trump administration official said bluntly they didn't know what Trump was referencing when asked what the tweet meant.
Another cautioned against reading too much into the message, arguing that there was no meeting earlier in the day that could have spurred the comment or that the tweet foretold some sort of unilateral action against North Korea.
Hanging over the tweet -- and Wednesday's meeting -- is the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died earlier this week after spending 17 months in detention in North Korea. His family believes he was tortured into a vegetative state. Trump condemned the "brutal regime" and lamented the loss of a young man "in the prime of life."
Trump had made clear in the past that his preference was to work with China on North Korea, but that he was willing to go after them alone.