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Top US General Meets Chinese President Xi to Discuss North Korean Threat

20 August 2017

Tension has increased in recent months over concern that North Korea is close to achieving its goal of putting the mainland United States within range of a nuclear weapon.

Like celebrity news, North Korea easily finds space in the papers and portals across the world.

The Chinese Defense Ministry denounced the operation as a "provocation" and said it was "firmly opposed to such flaunting of force and promotion of militarization in the region by the United States, which could easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air".

The approach outlined here is created to do two things: (1) encourage Beijing to impose far stronger economic sanctions on North Korea by addressing Chinese concerns about regime change on its border and being seen as doing USA bidding; and (2), based on fuller cooperation with China, to encourage North Korea to begin fruitful negotiations by providing new incentives related to regime security in addition to more punishing economic pressure. Now, experts are asking, why doesn't the United States try working with North Korea to isolate China? The sanctions are created to cut up to one third of North Korea's exports and therefore deprive the country of a significant portion of its GDP. Moreover, following a slew of missile tests, there's a very high chance that North Korea's ballistic missile are capable of accurately reaching Japanese population centers. "We've tried to work with China on North Korea for 20 years", Joshua Eisenman, senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, told the Washington Post.

"It's not insane. Actually, it's something that the Chinese worry about", said former State Department official Robert Carlin, who has dealt with the North Korean government for decades. "The passage of the sanctions is step one, enforcement of those sanctions are what is most important".

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Though China's position on North Korea is clear and consistent, United States policy is based on the assumption that China's position will change.

Contrary to Trump's threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: "There's no military solution [to North Korea's nuclear threats], forget it".

The question, however, persists.

North Korea's food production - including staples such as cereals, soybeans and potatoes - in 2016 was estimated at 5.4 million tonnes, a fall of 9 per cent from 5.9 million tonnes in 2014, according to the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation.

In many respects, going after Bank of Dandong makes sense: It is located in a border city where about two-thirds of China's trade with North Korea occurs.

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China and the United States appear to remain far apart on other issues, including a USA plan to deploy a missile-defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to South Korea and China's efforts to expand its territorial claims in the South China Sea. He pointed to similar - and effective - USA efforts to isolate Iran that resulted in $15 billion in fines levied on European banks that helped it skirt sanctions from 2012 to 2015. Much of the discussion focused on North Korea, which also poses a threat to Japan.

This includes US arms sales to Taiwan, the US Navy's South China Sea patrol, and the Pentagon's deployment of a missile defence system in South Korea. The U.S. should certainly continue and sensibly expand deterrence strategies.

Russia's economic presence in North Korea is now marginal, with a total trade volume of less than 100 million (compared to China's more than 5 billion). Trump's threat of "all options on the table" has generated a meaningful global response despite a trail of 10 years of failed negotiations. China also warned the Trump administration last month not to start a trade war with Beijing and split up the coalition countering North Korea.

It may well turn out that our insane leader's bravado has finally been put to good use.

However, earlier this week, tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have eased, with the Kim regime backpedalling on its plans to attack the Pacific island.

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Top US General Meets Chinese President Xi to Discuss North Korean Threat