WASHINGTON, DC – The Trump administration is turning up the pressure on China to do more to convince its ally North Korea to denuclearize, a key part of the president’s diplomatic strategy.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday announced it was placing financial sanctions on two Chinese nationals and a Chinese shipping company for their ties to North Korea.
The Trump administration also announced on Thursday a $1.3 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province.
A day before, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster suggested at a security conference in Washington that China could do more to help, using its economic ties to Pyongyang.
“Everybody wants us to resolve this without a military conflict. A big part of this is determining the degree to which China is willing to help,” he said Wednesday at the conference hosted by a Center for a New American Security.
“We know that almost 90 percent of [North Korea’s] trade comes through China. China does have the ability to help,” he said.
His statements came a week after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with their Chinese counterparts at the State Department last Wednesday and also urged China to do more.
Tillerson said at a press conference after the meetings:
We reiterated to China that they have a diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region – whether it is money laundering, extorting Korean expatriates or vicious cyber activity, North Korea has engaged in a number of criminal enterprises that helps fund its weapons programs.
The day before those meetings, President Trump also appeared to increase the pressure on China, tweeting, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”
While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
When asked about the president’s tweet, Mattis said the effort with China “continues.”
But East Asia expert Harry Kazianis said the tweet was meant as a signal to China. full story