Trump to tell Xi that diplomatic efforts to stop North Korea have run their course
China should use its economic clout against Pyongyang
US President Donald Trump will warn Chinese President Xi Jinping that diplomatic efforts to halt North Korea’s missile tests and nuclear capabilities have run their course and that China should use economic measures to subdue Pyongyang.
Trump will use his upcoming summit with Xi at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as an opportunity to discuss North Korea and other security and economic issues, a senior White House official said in a briefing with foreign media.
“The clock has now run out [for diplomacy and negotiations with North Korea] and all options are on the table for us”, the White House official said. “Even though we hear sometimes that China’s political influence may have diminished with North Korea, clearly its economic leverage has not, and so that will be one of the points of discussion.”
Cuts in China’s imports from North Korea so far haven’t cowed the reclusive nation’s military. As well, the tension between China and the US over this issue appears headed for further escalation unless Trump and Xi can agree to US measures to protect South Korea.
China’s coal imports from North Korea – which account for the bulk of trade between the two countries – eased in February, after new UN Security Council sanctions curbing Pyongyang’s sales abroad came into effect.
North Korea conducted a series of missile tests again on March 22, according to multiple news reports from the region. While that test appeared to be a failure, it was the most recent in a series of missile tests that the country’s military is conducting concurrently with nuclear detonation tests.
Unease over whether North Korea will be capable of launching a nuclear attack against South Korea has prompted the US Defence Department to cooperate with Seoul to deploy a ground-based missile defence system in South Korea.
China objects to the missile defence plan and has retaliated by placing restrictions on Korean businesses operating in China. That retaliation included the closure of Lotte outlets in China. Lotte is a South Korean conglomerate that offered a golf course as a base for the US missile defence system.
Asked about China’s objection to the US missile defence system in today’s briefing, the White House official said: “There will be no move away from protecting our South Korean allies.”
Trump and Xi will hold talks on April 6 and 7, in meetings that will be used to set an agenda for regular, high level dialogue between the two powers, according to the White House official.