The truth is that North Korea’s biggest ally is China, this has been the case since the Korean War when Chinese troops flooded the country to help combat American forces. Since that time China has become North Korea’s biggest source of energy, weapons, and food. China is North Korea’s main trading partner making up about 70 percent of North Korea’s trade equaling 6.86 billion dollars in 2014.
This means that if the United States wants to take any non-military action against North Korea, the best bet would be to get China on board. In an attempt to avoid an all out war with North Korea that could see the decimation of Seoul, South Korea, President Trump is seeking to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Presidential Summit at President Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort on April 6th and 7th 2017.
The Chinese have supported sanctions against North Korea in the past when they tested nuclear weapons in defiance of China’s opposition to the North Korean nuclear program.
China has stated that aggressively harsh financial actions against North Korea could cause a collapse of the regime and trigger another devastating famine and a refugee crisis.
In my estimation, China is looking out for its own interest as they share a border with North Korea and any possible regime collapse would more than likely cause a massive influx of North Korean refugees into China. China has reinforced its border with North Korea over the decades as they already house an estimated 200,000 refugees. Kim Jong-un has also increased security around the border with China to prevent more of his people from escaping.
At this point North Korea’s tyrannical personality cult government has become a threat not only to its neighbors but to global stability. North Korea’s erratic behavior also threatens trade between Asian nations and China. There is the possibility that a major conflict in the region would affect some of China’s most profitable trade routes. North Korea has a habit of instigating its neighbors with its missile tests. Estimates are that North Korea would have the capability to strike the American West Coast by 2020. They already have the capability to hit South Korea and Japan with conventional weapons.
I believe President Trump will have the opportunity to reach an agreement with China that could potentially help ease tensions in the region, I do believe military action is only considered a final option. He is going to have to offer China something valuable in my opinion, for the Chinese to play ball and help us deal with the threat. What that could potentially be is up in the air but I am sure that China’s military fortress man made islands in the South China Sea will most likely be a topic that is brought up during President Trump’s meeting with the Chinese President. I also foresee Trump using trade with China as a bargaining chip when it comes to dealing with North Korea.
There are a lot of questions, but here are some things we do know.
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with China on March 19, 2017 and is skipping a meeting with NATO to be present at the Mar-a-Lago summit.
- China ran Special Forces training drills along the border with North Korea.
- Tillerson has motioned that military force is not off the table.
- Estimates show North Korea will have nuclear strike capability on the western coast of the United States by 2020.
- Without China, North Korea’s tyrannical regime would collapse
- China has supported sanctions against North Korea in the past and has urged North Korea to halt nuclear testing.
- China has agreed to invest in American Industry.
- President Trump is always looking to make mutually beneficial deals.
- U.S. has Aegis Missile Cruisers just off the coast of North Korea.
- South Korea is looking to change its relationship with North Korea after impeachment of their President.
In short, I expect that President Trump will reach an agreement with China that sees North Korea losing some of its support from China in exchange for Trump rolling back talk of Tariffs on Chinese goods entering the United States. Although both countries are communist, North Korea still maintains a distrust of China which has led to some military and economic tension between the two countries. American unilateral action on North Korea would have an impact on China’s trade routes and impact the surrounding countries of Asia. The fact that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be present for the Presidential Summit in Mar-a-Lago gives me the impression that some of these details were discussed during his trip to China and that the meeting between President Xi and President Trump will be to reassure China that the U.S. is willing to partner with them if the deals are mutually beneficial. This could be a really good thing for both countries in the long run and it would show positive foreign policy results from the Trump Administration. It would show the international community that although America will return to a policy position of “peace through strength”, it will always seek the most mutually beneficial and realistic options possible.