by WorldTribune Staff, April 3, 2017
As pro-China lobbyists geared up for this week’s critical summit in south Florida, the White House weighed in as well.
President Donald Trump said in an interview that the U.S. will solve the North Korea problem on its own if China does not reign in the rogue Kim Jong-Un regime.
The threat from North Korea and trade will top the agenda as the president hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping this week at Trump’s Mar-a-lago complex in Florida.
“China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times published on April 2. “And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
Trump added: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during a visit to South Korea in March, warned of a possible pre-emptive military strike against North Korea. Stepping up pressure on Beijing, Tillerson also criticized the Chinese for objecting to the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea meant to protect the country from a missile attack from the North.
Trump’s national security teams have completed a review of U.S. options to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Those options include economic and military measures but lean more toward sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing to rein in its reclusive neighbor, a U.S. official said.
Although the option of preemptive military strikes on North Korea is not off the table, the review prioritizes less-risky steps and “de-emphasizes direct military action,” the official added, saying it was not immediately known if the National Security Council recommendations had made their way to Trump.
Trump’s deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, said there was a “real possibility” North Korea could be capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of Trump’s four-year term, the Financial Times reported.
Trump and Xi are also expected to discuss China’s militarization of the South China Sea.
China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the strategic waterway.
Trump is also looking to tie U.S. imports of Chinese goods with China’s cooperation on North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump’s White House has made narrowing the trade deficit a priority and has called China a non-market economy with unfair trade practices. The Trump administration also recently signaled it is willing to keep Chinese goods eligible for higher U.S. tariffs well into the future.