White House signals frustration with China on North Korea, human trafficking

by WorldTribune Staff, June 28, 2017

While U.S. President Donald Trump continues to press China to rein in North Korea, the State Department on June 27 called out Beijing on its human rights record.

“China was downgraded to Tier 3 action in this year’s report (on human trafficking) in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced laborers from North Korea that are located in China,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks on the Trafficking in Persons report at the State Department on June 27. / AP

Tier 3 is the lowest rung on the annual Trafficking in Persons report. According to the State Department, China joins Russia, Syria and Iran as the worst violators on the list.

The trafficking designation is “just the latest sign of Trump’s increasingly palpable impatience with China,” Fox News reported on June 27.

During his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump pressed for China to put more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. Beijing, however, has since said that its influence on Pyongyang is limited.

Trump tweeted last week: “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out.”

Meanwhile, Axios reported on June 27 that the White House has renewed conversations about “penalties that would deter or punish foreign dumping of steel into the U.S. market.”

Though the action wouldn’t single out China, Axios said it would be “viewed as a straight shot at Bejing.”

China owns half of the world’s steel capacity and in recent years has flooded the market.

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