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>> China denied on Friday that it was illegally selling oil to North Korea. Beijing was responding to a Tweet by US President Donald Trump saying China had been caught allowing oil into the isolated nation in defiance of UN sanctions, which would prevent a quote friendly solution to the crisis over North Korea's nuclear programs.
Reuters Ben Bradshaw is in Beijing.>> So the Chinese government state didn't actually really react directly to most of what Donald Trump said about China and North Korea in trade. It did say however, that it looked into the reports, which appears to have come from South Korean media that on October the 19th, there was a Chinese ship pictured selling oil to a North Korean ship.
Now, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said they'd looked into these reports, they said that there was no evidence that this had happened. Well, at least the reports did not accord with the facts which is usually a Chinese government way of saying that this isn't true. The government also, the Foreign Ministry also today said that were there to be any evidence that Chinese ships were breaking UN resolutions, then they would investigate.
China and the United States have this really sort of seesaw relationship. It goes from Trump praising China for its efforts to reign in North Korea to then saying that China isn't doing enough to rein in North Korea. And then Trump also periodically fires off broad sides criticizing China over for example trade.
China has really been relatively restrained in reacting to a lot of these comments from President Trump. China insists that cooperation far outweighs confrontation in their relationship. Undoubtedly, President Trump, when he visited China quite recently it was a very successful trip. He seemed to have very good chemistry with President Xi.
In fact, President Trump refers to President Xi as a friend of his. The Chinese, I think, are also sensible enough to know that they can't really upset the Americans too much. But, of course, it was also in China's interest that North Korea's nuclear ambitions are reigned in. Having a nuclear armed North Korea right in China's backyard is absolutely not in China's best interest.
But China, of course, does fear that if it does cut off North Korea completely, then that could be it, and North Korea could collapse completely. And that would be really a nightmare scenario for the Chinese, and the Chinese think that the Americans don't adequately understand this danger.