China criticises Trump for not playing fair with Kim

By Kerry Allen
BBC Monitoring

image copyrightBBC Monitoring
image captionThe cancellation of Kim-Trump talks is front page news in China today

Chinese media and social media users are accusing US President Donald Trump of not playing fair with North Korea.

Papers in the country are slamming the US leader for pulling out of scheduled talks with North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June, and saying that his actions will lead to instability across the border.

Social media users appear to be increasingly sympathising with the North Korean leader, saying that Kim Jong-un had been showing signs of sincerity towards denuclearisation and peace at the Korean peninsula.

China is one of North Korea's closest allies. While many Chinese people have been nervous about Pyongyang's nuclear tests, Beijing's state media have been increasingly making efforts to quell such fears, for example by noting Mr Kim's two recent visits to China to meet with President Xi Jinping.

'US fully to blame'

National and regional papers in China today carry dramatic headlines about the cancelled meeting.

The front page of the Shanghai Morning Post shows dramatic silhouettes of Mr Trump and Mr Kim, with the US leader shown seemingly walking away from Kim.

National paper Reference News headlines with "Trump suddenly announces the cancellation of the Trump-Kim summit". On the same page, a separate article noted "The US has cancelled its China invite to participating in military exercises". The two countries were expected to take part in biennial RIMPAC drills, but the Pentagon announced it had "disinvited" China because of recent drills in the South China Sea.

Foreign affairs paper Global Times stresses that North Korea had invited foreign journalists to see the demolition of North Korea's nuclear site in Punggye-ri on the same day in their headlines.

It says that Trump's cancelled talks come as a "heavy blow to the situation on the Peninsula" and says the move "will further enforce the outside world's view of the US government's arbitrariness".

Pro-Beijing Hong Kong paper Ta Kung Pao says "the US is fully to blame for the Trump-Kim summit falling through".

"All this was extremely untimely and went against the general trend of peace on the peninsula," it adds.


Mr Trump's cancellation of the meeting has also ignited much anger amongst China's online community.

On the popular Sina Weibo microblog, thousands of users reacted in horror to Mr Trump's letter to Mr Kim, which they read via a translated version in the national Global Times newspaper.

"He [Trump] really is the most unreliable president," one user said, and another added: "The United States really is shameless."

Others said they felt the US leader was "sinister" and that his rhetoric was "disgusting".

Many comment on the specific tone of the letter. One user said it "feels like a love letter" and one added that his "break up letter" was "textbook male chauvinism".

Some users saw humour in the apparent break-up of the two leaders.

"The gifts have been exchanged, the invitations have been made, the hotel has also been booked, and you're now telling me that the wedding won't go ahead?" one asked.

Jaw jaw not war war

image copyrightAFP
image captionChinese papers have praised the restoration of Sino-North Korean ties over the last couple of months

Chinese web users haven't always been so sympathetic of the North Korean leader.

Netizens have coined many critical nicknames for the leader, including "Kim the Fat", despite the censors trying to stop such nicknames staying online.

Media reports on North Korea have also been critical in recent years. Beijing condemned North Korea's earlier nuclear tests, and voiced its concerns about tremors being felt across the border.

Fears appeared to reach a head in December, when official papers at Jilin province, on the border with North Korea, issued advice about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

However, following two "successful talks" between Mr Kim and China's Xi Jinping since March, Chinese media have lauded the new apparent sincerity shown by North Korea to improve bilateral relations.

They also applauded the country for inviting Chinese journalists to see the demolition of the nuclear test site yesterday.

What next?

image copyrightReuters
image caption"The first international hair style competition has been cancelled in Singapore!"

Chinese social media users are now of the mind that the North has shown goodwill and that Mr Trump was unfair.

"North Korea has fulfilled its side of the agreement," one social media user says, and another comments that the demolition of the nuclear site shows that "North Korea also hopes to have a good relationship with the world and wants its people to have a good life".

Some users are assessing how the decommissioning of the nuclear site and the cancellation of the Kim-Trump meeting will affect China. Some reflect on Mr Trump's previous career as a businessman, and ask whether the US leader is "helping push down real estate prices in Dandong", a Chinese city at the border.

Many say they have hopes the meeting between Mr Kim and Mr Trump will still go ahead, but not for geopolitical reasons.

One of the most popular Sina Weibo comments, receiving over 2,000 likes is from a user saying they are "gutted" that "the first international hair style competition has been cancelled in Singapore!"

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitterand Facebook.