Trump attempts a deal with China on North Korea

Jay Jacobs
April 14, 2017

He called speculation that the Korean peninsula would face a crisis this month "groundless". President Donald Trump has switched positions on at least half a dozen major economic and foreign policy issues in the last week alone.

Pyongyang, meanwhile, recently launched a ballistic missile and some experts have said it could conduct another nuclear test at virtually any time.

Beijing has long opposed dramatic action against Pyongyang, fearing the regime's collapse would send a flood of refugees across its borders and leave the U.S. military on its doorstep. "The U.S. would be mindful that the high population density here makes any expansion of war, if there is one, very easy", Kim said.

While it's unclear how much allies' concerns would influence Trump administration calculations on any strike, Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told reporters in Seoul on Tuesday that the USA said it wouldn't take action without first consulting South Korea.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Friday that the government was always collecting and analyzing information about North Korea's moves but refrained from commenting on details.

Trump told reporters he's pushing Xi to pressure North Korea to abandon development of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the United States, a program that has also alarmed American allies in Japan and South Korea.

Tensions have been ratcheted up after the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson and its strike group said to be about to undertake drills with Japanese vessels near the Korean peninsula.

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While Trump has repeatedly said that all options are on the table, which could include military action, he has indicated he will for now let China try to restrain the North while leaving room open for Washington, if this strategy fails, to take military action or even conduct a pre-emptive attack on the North.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite on April 13, 2012, to mark the centenary of Kim Il Sung's birth. "It seems to be a much better choice now for Beijing to get more actively involved", said University of Hong Kong historian Xu Guoqi. And it will continue developing its nuclear program and conduct its next nuclear test whenever its leaders see fit. It may now have leverage over us on other issues, like the South China Sea and climate change-both of which matter deeply to the Chinese.

While Trump's combination of threats and cajoling seems to have produced short-term results, it is not clear how effective it will be in the long-term. Meanwhile, the US has sent an aircraft carrier to the region and is conducting its biggest ever joint military exercises with South Korea.

But Washington has rebuffed the proposal. "This is an administration that unlike Obama, did something in Syria". Chinese officials worked for weeks behind-the-scenes to build ties with Trump and his family, before a February phone call between the two leaders in which he reaffirmed long-standing United States policy on Taiwan.

Last month, a frustrated Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman suggested that "if the USA or another country has a better plan, a better proposal, they can bring it out".

The United States also deployed a plane specializing in detecting radioactive debris to Okinawa, Japan.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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