He avoided specifically saying China, but the message was loud and clear.
Less than 24 hours after North Korea conducted what reportedly was its sixth nuclear weapons test, President Donald Trump made yet another threat against the isolated authoritarian state on Twitter. This time, though, it’s a threat that could impact its economic partners, too.
Trump threatened to halt all U.S. trade relationships with countries that do business with North Korea, a decision which (if followed through on) would have major implications for American imports and exports.
The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2017
The tweet came in response to Saturday’s North Korean nuclear test, which the regime claims was a hydrogen bomb capable of being placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Were Trump to make good on the threat, it would have a major impact on the American economy. China is one of its biggest international trading partners, and the major world power that’s historically helped prop up the North Korean government. Hours earlier, Trump tweeted that North Korea is “a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China.”
As it stands, the U.S. trades more than $600 billion worth of goods and services with China annually, and a sudden halt to all that economic activity would have major impacts on both nations. It’s not clear, however, whether Trump would actually consider backing that threat up with action. He’s made similar, more directly confrontational statements about China’s relationship with North Korea before but has not seriously changed policy as a result.